Pintester Movement, Christmas Edition

As you’ve guessed, it’s that time again. The Pintester Movement. This time, Christmas themed. I thought I’d push the boat out a bit & try something crafty this time. When I got the email, I immediately got organised as I almost forgot last time. By immediately I mean after I’d wrapped my mind around the whole Christmas thing. Oh, and after catching up on the latest “The Originals” episode. And a coffee….so a little less ‘immediately’ and a little more procrastination.

As we haven’t had an actual Christmas tree since Master 4 annihilated the little one we had when he was 5 months old, I was at a loss as to what to make.


yeah, we were pretty optimistic he would leave it alone…

I made a felt one last year so it’s not like we don’t have anything at all for all you Christmas over-the-toppers. I wanted something easy-ish but useful, so I went with this on the Martha Stewart website. Turns out not as easy as it looks, and pretty useless if you don’t have a tree. I totally nailed my objective wouldn’t you say?!

It called for old Christmas cards…perfect, as I have a little collection of those that drives Hubby crazy if he happens to stumble across my stash. He always asks what on earth I’m saving them for. Well, as it turns out, for times like these of course! As it so happens, I still had my SIL’s large hole punch do I got to work punching out 20 circles.


Had I not had a hole punch there is no way I would’ve taken the time to trace around jars & cut each one out. No way!

It then calls for you to cut out an extra circle in order to draw an equilateral triangle to cut out & use as a template to trace onto EACH circle. First though, I had to concentrate really hard on trying to remember what an equilateral triangle was & how best to draw it. Figured it out without resorting to google..yay me. Mr Starke would be so proud. I then tediously drew, in pen, on each circle. Turns out pencil would work out better but we’ll get to that…

Scored each triangle, pressed too hard a couple of times as my concentration slipped & my mind wondered,oops. But no way I was redoing anything so I forged ahead…

The next step was to use clear-drying glue..of which I had very little. Hence the white glue…which, luckily, turned out to dry clear too. Bonus. Then “join one flap each from two circles — triangles should point in the same direction. Using the same technique, attach the flaps of three more circles to these two, forming what will be the top. Make the bottom in the same way”. Confused much??!! I did manage to eventually work out the logistics, you’ll be glad to hear.


So pretty…

Hence the reason for pencil. I would’ve rubbed it out & maybe it would have looked better. Working with glue…not my hidden talent!


hmmm I was undecided at this point if it was even worth the hassle. Had I not been doing it for my Pintester Movement post I would’ve called it quits & had another coffee instead. Dedication, people, dedication!

The next step I have only one picture because it was impossible! Between getting glue EVERYWHERE & then trying to get the card to stay stuck together & not on my fingers, I decided pictures weren’t on top of my list. The instructions “Glue remaining 10 circles together, this time with triangle points alternating up and down, forming a straight line. Glue the two end flaps to form a ring; this will be the middle section. Then glue top and bottom pieces to the flaps of the middle section”. What a mission. Surely this was wrong but hey, I wasn’t spending anymore time on figuring it out.


Very time consuming for something so ‘simple’ I’m sure I messed up here but I wasn’t redoing anything

But, I persevered and eventually managed to get it to stay together.


Not so bad from this angle…


…a little less classy from this angle though

Yep, that’s glue all over my fingers!


In lieu of an actual Christmas tree in October…

As for the silver thread I was instructed to use to hang it…YEAH, RIGHT! Black cotton won the day.

Master 4 was very thrilled with it, it hung in the boys room for a couple of days, until the glue failed. Which shocked me ‘coz it stuck to my fingers like, well, like glue! It is now sitting very sadly on the windowsill, awaiting surgery. As if!

The verdict : don’t bother unless you are REALLY into that sort of thing. And, even then, I’d say don’t bother.

If you haven’t already, head over to Sonja’s blog, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


Body lotion paint

Now, first off, let me clear something up…I DO NOT like setting up painting activities for the boys. Why? Because of the mess! Oh, I have no problem if THEY get messy, it’s everything else in their vanicity I’m not so keen on. Things like chairs, table, walls, food…you get my drift. So I invested in a pack of paint pens last Christmas. You know the ones, paint only comes out of the relatively small round tip and, even if squeezed, is almost impossible to get anywhere but on the paper it’s meant for. Master 3 LOVES, LOVES these and paints me all manner of rainbows I don’t even have to worry about covering the table (or him for that matter) as it’s totally mess free. Master 4 isn’t at all interested usually, so it’s a great way to give both of them their own time too.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon this blog post and thought I’d give it a go…outside of course! Paint made from body lotion & food colouring. I also used her idea of giving them foil, wax paper & cardboard to paint on to add a little something different.

From experience, I know that food colouring can be the enemy…add 1 drop too much and it goes from mess-free to a stain that will NEVER,EVER come out. So I cautiously added drops to the vitamin E lotion I bought and never used. I thought I was so darn clever…turns out I was mildly wrong. Although, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been…

I did, thankfully, tape the materials down to the table as the wind was not co-operating (whose bright idea was it to try painting IN THE WIND??) and the boys went nuts.


I gave them their own muffin tin of paint (to avoid World War 3), with a pastry brush ‘coz someone didn’t think to check we had any paint brushes before she went ahead with the activity! Now, I’ll be honest, it took me longer to tape down the paper in the wind than it took them to finish, but they seemed to enjoy it..


Their shirts came off shortly after this & they continued body painting. It all came off but did leave a stain on them

This short activity was followed by a rather more satisfying time in the bath. And they smelled wonderful for the rest of the afternoon!

Note to self: Don’t use packing tape on a varnished table. Hubby went to dispose of the paper 2 days after this and managed to take off some varnish…oops 🙂 

December in Photos

As I have been without a computer for what seems like a lifetime, there are loads of photos ready for a story. But I don’t have the amount of time I would prefer to tell them all so I have made an executive decision just to photo dump this post & maybe add a little explanation if needed. So here goes….


Painting/decorating Santa pictures…


…and hands of course!


Using glue was Master 3’s favourite part


Tipping out toys was Master 2’s favourite


Kindy Christmas party


Kindy Christmas Party




More art days in the sun…with more painting of handsImage


Musician in the making


Bob The Builder


Copying daddy??


Christmas Eve cousin fun


Christmas Eve fun


Little on the cold side


Christmas morning


more cars!


Santa got us bikes!






Santa spoilt us…


The face says it all

I’ll do a post dedicated to the road trip we’ve just done with my parentals up North next time…it deserves a whole post to itself.

All rained out…

I took today off work & had a wonderful day out planned for us… first up, a visit to the local market which is very new to the area. This was only the second time it was on & I had to miss the first one due to work. And then we were going to head over to the beach for the afternoon. But, you guessed it, it damn-well rained! We still took a drive past it as we headed into town to get a couple of things done instead, and noticed it was heaving!All the stalls under awnings of course & then people all in waterproof gear strolling around. I should have guessed, what with it being a farming community & all. We contemplated stopping right then but took the chance it would clear up a bit later on our way home. We should have known better!!!!

curtesy of

After our little jaunt around town the boys were getting antsy & demanding to be let out, as you do after being stuck in your carseat for 2 hours! We planned on just heading home but, on driving past the markets again & seeing they were still going strong, Hubby skidded skillfully pulled into a car park & we unloaded ourselves. Only for the heavens to open right then!We were already out of the car & didn’t fancy having to tell the boys we had to get straight back in again so we pulled on our jackets & set off. The boys were already kitted out in rain coats & wellies so they thought it was simply great!Hubby,not so much…guess who wore a warm jacket but with NO HOOD (cough, dumb-ass,cough) And the man hates the rain, you’d think he’d melt or something!

We walked rather quickly around & were impressed with what was on offer. Although a few were already packed up or in the process of packing, who could blame them really. Hubby was appeased when he happened upon the Pirongia Butcher man…very highly spoken of & someone Hubby has always wanted to meet (haha see what i did there?ok ok, it was lame I’ll admit). By meet I mean taste his wares, he wasn’t actually interested in the man himself! And damn, was his lamb sausage delish! Of course, the boys spotted cupcakes so all the way around we heard “cake,cake” so in the name of peace we found little gingerbread people & both boys chose pink lady ones & not the blue boys ones!haha I didn’t even get to have a coffee as the rain was REALLY pelting & we were all but soaked. The boys were having none of the suggestion we head home but, as we’re bigger & stronger, we manhandled  carried them & dumped deposited them into the car. I tried to take photos but no one in the car was in the mood to pose for me…how rude, I thought! So just take my word for it that we were drenched.

A quick change of clothes & lunch and all happiness was restored. We were worried at one point that our little cottage would either be blown or washed away…or both!What crazy weather…hope it improves for next weekend, Master (Almost) 2’s birthday party!!! Stay tuned for that, fingers crossed it all works out as planned (I haven’t done a lot of planning to be fair, but nothing like leaving it until the last minute…I work best under pressure anyway!) My SIL designed the invites & other party goodness so  I don’t have to worry about any of that & at least I know it will look all spiffy & professional. Head to her website to check out all the awesomeness of what she does (K, I’ll take payment in peanut butter chocolate *wink*)

Just weekend stuff

I would like to have a post that starts off with “look at all the gardening I did this weekend” but, sadly, I doubt that would happen..EVER! To say I don’t have the passion for gardening is a slight understatement, to say I detest it is closer to the truth. Not that I don’t like reaping the benefits of our own veges & herbs..I do, & I gladly eat them, but I prefer the taste of said veges & herbs when Hubby plants them(and waters them etc etc). Lazy, right?! Some people find it relaxing to toil in their gardens, I’m not one of them…I blame my parents, it’s got to be their fault right? *hi mom, hi dad. I love you haha* Luckily Hubby loves his garden, although I think he mostly uses it as an excuse to get out of the house sometimes (“gotta water the plants” gets flung over his shoulder as he exits the door at high speed, leaving the boys to me at ‘witching hour’ )As this post actually has nothing to do with gardening, but rather my desire to be interested in such productive things, I’ll move on…

What I do enjoy doing at night, once the boys are in bed, is easy sewing projects. This weekend I managed to whip up Christmas stockings for the boys!I took my lead from the shops who all have their Christmas stock out already, and not even October yet(ignoring the fact that in less than 8 hours it will be). I didn’t have any Christmas themed fabric when I saw the pattern onpinterest so I just made do with what I had. Some left over red from Miss Niece’s skirt, a kids pillow case I had lying around, a fat quarter I bought at the Craft Show & a couple of felt letters. I followed the instructions & ended up with these…(just need to add the ribbon so they can hang up)

The boys have no concept other than the shops look pretty & Santa is a “snow man” according to Master 3. He corrects me every time I mention Santa! So we’ll see how it goes this year. 85 days people, 85 days.

On a different note, the boys went with Hubby to a birthday party on Saturday while I was at work…unlike Dragon Lady here, Hubby lets the boys eat/drink whatever they can find just so he can keep the peace & not be the only uncool parent (his words!)I mean really!? Nothing like a sugar rush & crash to make a weekend great. Thankfully they weren’t too bad once they got home to me & they seemed to have a great time (who wouldn’t when you’re allowed coke & fanta!!)

burning off the last of my energy

so tired now

The weather has been great & allowed alot of outside play…

Bob the Builder

Yay for summer…

Sewing delights

Yes, that’s right, I have been sewing again. Actually, I haven’t stopped but the latest 2 projects have been for my niece’s birthday & since my SIL reads this, I decided to hold off posting until after her party. Considerate don’t you think?Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise now would I?

First up, I saw this cute idea on pinterest (how did we manage to get inspired BEFORE pinterest?!?!) I’m sure there are many different versions out there but this seemed easy & I’m a sucker when there’s easy/peasy/simple or other such winners in the title of a pattern! Of course I didn’t save the website I found it on in all my excitement but I will keep searching so I can give the correct credit.

I pretty much made up the measurements myself, based on the size of the colouring-in book I bought. A few pockets cut from a pillow case, add some cardboard (which I covered in vinyl so it can be spilled on & wiped without making the cardboard soggy & resulting in a whole lot of unpicking of stitches. Quite proud of THAT idea let me tell you LOL) Once I worked out what I wanted to include in this little art carrier it was pretty plain sailing. Until I got to putting it all together & sewing a spine to cover the raw edges. Seems I must have pulled a little too tightly because after it was all complete & I went to put  the crayons into their individual pockets, they wouldn’t all fit! But, disaster avoided by a quick trip to the shop for smaller crayons. Next time I’ll leave more fabric for the pockets! You’re never too old to learn they say.

Next up, a skirt. The obvious accompaniment to a “colouring-in case” I thought! I searched for an easy pattern/tutorial & came across hundreds (literally!). As per usual I forgot to pin the one I eventually chose to try, which is the WHOLE point of pinterest I hear you shout at the computer screen! I know, I know but once I get something into my head all else falls by the wayside. I did end up finding it here eventually…

Having been to the Arts & Crafts show over the weekend I was itching to use some of the fabric I got (admittedly, I only bought 3 Fat Quarters but nonetheless…) Not thinking ahead, all my fabric is pretty boy oriented so I was in a bit of a panic, how did THAT happen, I must have picked up dozens of girly ones! But never fear,my little stash from my opshop adventure provided a perfect match to one of my more neutral fabrics. I even changed it up a bit so I could add the patterned fabric at the sides of the skirt. Again, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself *wink* I used a pair of Master 3’s pants as a waist size guide & Master (Almost) 2’s as a length guide & away I went. I even got to use the fabric marker pen I bought at the show!I diligently followed the tutorial, even ironing when I had too!!And it was so easy! Admittedly, I don’t sew as straight as I would like to but I think it worked out pretty well anyway. Neither of my boys would entertain the idea of modelling it once I’d finished, maybe because I told them it was for Miss Niece…you learn from your mistakes! Hubby was horrified I’d even entertained the idea of putting HIS boys in a skirt! If only he could see them at playgroup..pushing prams,feeding dolls etc etc

Free bag pattern debacle

Hey it was free & looked doable…a bit on the adventurous side I will admit but I was feeling up to the challenge. Note, all my sewing projects seem to contain the word “challenge”!! It caught my eye & looked so pretty…I really need to start making decisions NOT based on “pretty” methinks. Find the pattern here

free diaper bag pattern tutorial
Looks lovely doesn’t it??Please note that this is NOT the one I made, it’s how mine is SUPPOSED to look…

First off, the pdf looked like it had been drawn freehand as apposed to drawn straight, like with a ruler or something. Not being that up to speed on how patterns are supposed to look I just assumed freehand would be ok. Looks like it worked well for her but not so much for yours truly. The wonky lines produced wonkily (that’s a word, right?) cut fabric..yes, I’m blaming those unstraight (skew if you prefer proper English!) lines for ending up with imperfectly cut lines! Just don’t read previous posts in which I admit, oh wait, never mind! moving on…

Despite that, I followed the instructions & helpful pictures really closely I thought. And by the way, sewing on the bottom was a BITCH. I don’t know how many times I pinned & repinned it just wouldn’t line up properly. I just fluffed my way through it & ended up sacrificing a teeny, tiny bit of the shape  so I consider that a win. Turns out randomly sewing in places has an effect on the overall outcome! *wink*

Time to turn the main bag (without lining) the right side out….holes in the seams BUGGER! That darn fabric slipping fairy has been at it again! But never fear, random sewing to the rescue. All good to go for the final step, sewing in the lining.

Very straight forward, even for me, I thought. Well, this NUMPTY sewed with the straps hanging in the wrong place. Over the lining instead of between it & the main bag! Needless to say I was spitting mad at myself! A whole lot of unpicking later & a mental kick up the butt, I was ready for round 2. Ahhh success, albeit having forgotten to sew in the closure tab!! I shit you not! It fall onto the floor while I was unpicking & out of sight, out of mind!


The front of the bag


Back pocket


Front pocket


oops,no closure tab


Master 3 has claimed it for himself

Thinking I may tackle something a little less of a challenge for my next project.

Sewing goddess…?

Wahahaha hardly! But I’m having fun trying. I did eventually finish those bean bags(thanks Jules & Zelda for the peas & lentils ideas) As predicted though, the boys were more interested in lobbing them at each other &, shock horror, at me! And Master 1 has a deadly accurate aim! After several attempts to demo what they could alternatively be used for (stacking, matching,making stepping stones & bridges etc – Thanks again Jules) I have put them in the bottom of the toy box under a few things. Ok, a lot of things! I’ll wait for sunnier days so we can take them outside for more “boy play”.


There were more than just these ones…seems a few have found legs & wondered off somewhere!

I trawled Pinterest for some other ideas on what I could practice my sewing on & found a really easy bib I thought even I couldn’t muck up. Turns out I was wrong, I could indeed muck it up!And I did, although only slightly. Seems it’s pretty important to cut fairly exactly straight with ALL pieces so everything lines up & you don’t unintentionally miss sewing a layer & end up with holes in the seams…who knew!?! Lesson learnt! It also pays to follow the instructions pretty accurately!As I went to make the link to the site I got the pattern off, I realised I didn’t ACTUALLY do anything she suggested! My bad! Looks like I was supposed to sew around the edge & use bias tape to cover the seams, instead I sewed the back sides together & then turned it right side out…hmmm I’m thinking pattern crossover happened along the way. See, that’s why it’s important to follow directions!!


2 have a vinyl layer between 2 cotton layers & the third has a toweling layer. Gotta practice it all right? (ps the vinyl layer was a bitch to sew!)

I found some really awesome place mats at the opshop that I just had to use somehow! Why not another waterproof bag you ask?hmmm good idea…turns out I managed to misread something somewhere along the way & ended up with the seams of the lining on the wrong side! Still usable just not all that professional looking, but I’m happy I got the zip almost perfect (even after only a few practices with zips I can say they aren’t a favourite of mine!)


No strap this time…purely because yours truly was too busy multitasking & overlooked it! Yes, sewing, drinking a cup of tea & watching The Glee Project is definitely multitasking!

Feeling rather chuffed with myself at this point I attempted to tackle my first bag…a Bohemian Banana Bag from One Yard Wonders.


Isn’t it pretty?

I chose fabric I liked that was cheap & followed the directions pretty well I thought. Although I ended up with the pattern of the lining upside down (next time I’ll go with a solid colour fabric without a pattern! AND one with pictures, I could not work out what the devil they wanted me to do with the lining!) and the realisation I probably should have done the zip much earlier instead of right at the end like the book said to. Slightly lop sided but still usable, & the pattern is growing on me!


Just when you think I would be done for the week (actually about 3 but what’s a couple of weeks between friends right?) my SIL thoughtfully cut out a pattern from the Australian Woman’s Weekly for me.


I secretly think she was pissing herself laughing at the thought of me attempting this…hey that was my first reaction too if I’m honest! *wink* But I soldiered on & blew up the given pattern to double it’s size as advised (that’s 200% right?Turns out I should’ve gone bigger…like 400%!) I’m actually happy with how it went, despite the size issue. I even managed to line up the stripes,something I didn’t even think of until the thing was finished!


Almost perfectly lined up!woohoo

Now for the comparison of size…


Besides the fact the colours are quite a good match, you can see how dainty this bag turned out to be. I am yet to decide how best to use it…any ideas?

Never one to back out of a challenge, I have another bag brewing. I have only just started cutting out the pattern so watch this space…

Craft much?

Monday morning means 3 hours alone, to myself, sans kiddies! Oh how I relish those 3 hours once a week & oh, how they fly by in a blink of an eye!! I think I do more in those hours than I do in an entire day. I always try & get at least one thing done that I know is impossible when I have the boys nipping at my heals & today was no exception. The mission…repaint the wooden oven I got the boys last week. It was a little tired looking & just needed a bit of a face lift.

Before…Hubby had taken it upon himself to rewrite the numbers BEFORE I repainted!

Needless to say I had to paint about 12 times over those numbers!! And then I decided to replace the milk bottle lids, make them more uniform (‘coz I think I have a touch of OCD, it’s been bugging me that whoever made this used 3 different types of lid & the nails didn’t match either!) Of course I had a slight ‘blonde moment’…how was I going to get a hole poked in the middle of the lids? Dare I try out Hubby’s drill???

I was momentarily distracted as I snooped in his garage…how many screwdrivers could you possible need!?


I found where all the Sharpies(permanent markers) have disappeared to!!!


Located the drill without a problem but was faced with this! After a quick debate with myself (yes, I actually had a debate with myself, out loud!Hey I’m used to always having little ones around) I phoned Hubby to get his opinion on the likelihood of my success. He was ever so nice , yes seriously, & urged me to have a go but did suggest I could probably just use a sharp screwdriver with a bit of pressure! I went with that..turns out those many screwdrivers above came in handy



Did the job brilliantly. hmmm seems in all my excitement of getting it all uniform, I forgot to take a photo!I’ll do it tomorrow…

As the boys slept for 3 hours this afternoon (yes, you read that right, that’s THREE hours) I got time to make hummus


Not very pretty but it tastes good

1 tin of chickpeas

0.25 cup olive oil

1 tbls lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

Wizz together & keeps in an airtight container for 3 days

I didn’t have any tahini which most recipes require, so went with this version & it came out fine.

Next on the list was Thin Mint Brownies (the recipe below is directly off Chocolate Covered Katie’s site)

Raw Thin-Mint Brownies

  • 1 cup walnuts (120g)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates (230 grams) (I highly recommend Sunmaid, because they’re softer.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • A few drops pure peppermint extract (depending on how minty you want them… Start with less; you can always add more.)
  • Optional: for even more chocolate flavor, add chocolate chips. Or add cacao nibs.
  • Optional: tiny dash of salt (I always add this and recommend it.)

Directions: Combine all ingredients, using a food processor. (No need to blend the dates first; I just blend everything all at once. But if you use a Magic Bullet, you might want to do it in batches. I’ve not tried this in a regular blender and therefore can’t vouch for it.)Form into brownies or balls or bars… or even cookie-cuttered shapes!

I didn’t have walnuts so I subbed in salted peanuts. I only put in 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder as the boys don’t like it too bitter & next time I may leave out the peppermint as I only had the essence not the extract & I’m not a fan (after an unfortunate reaction to cheap-ass peppermint liqueur a few years ago!) Other than that, I loved them! Master 2 was a massive fan too! I was so busy trying to keep his fingers out of the finished paste that I couldn’t take any photos of his chocolate covered mouth! Who knew dates could have so many uses?!

Not pretty but I was too lazy to artfully plate them up…

All in all a very productive day…I even managed some sewing(will post about that ordeal adventure soon) & the hoovering!Yay me!

The wonderful world of Op-Shopping…

Yes,seriously! Admittedly, I don’t get alot of time to go to these places as I have 2 anti-opshop-mechanisms…namely Masters 1 & 3!Far too much for them to touch explore destroy & I guess it really isn’t fair to expect them to walk quietly in the middle of the store, hands by their sides without touching ANYTHING! Especially not when all the breakables are practically at knee height for them! So I plan these little trips when I know I will be alone.

Now that I’m sewing, albeit VERY basically, I’m on the hunt for a range of decently priced fabrics. There is sooo much variety out there & all the really good stuff comes with the appropriate price tags, which I wouldn’t mind if I was slightly more experienced & less likely to muck up! Hence the reason for said opshop mission this morning while the kiddies where at kindy.

I think they knew I was about to embark on an adults only shopping spree too because they dragged their heals, had at least a half dozen tantrums between them & performed when I went to leave them at kindy! Nothing like a dose of Mother’s Guilt to start the morning! But I did manage to drag myself away with the promise that I would be back soon.

I was a bit dejected after the first couple of shops as their stash of scraps was limited, although I did manage to spend some money on the boys. Damn that Mother’s Guilt!!

Wooden toys woohoo
Wooden stove top & oven

I have been after a wooden play kitchen for ages but wasn’t willing to pay 100s of $s for a fancy one. Although this could do with a new paint job (yoo hoo,Hubby..)it was a steal at $12. Just my kind of shopping!

But by shop number 5 I hit the jackpot!


Granted, these are mostly off cuts/scraps but just perfect for small, easy to sew projects to practice with. The little old lady at the till was almost as excited as I was at the prospect of all that sewing!

After all the excitement of the morning(hey, I was out by myself, no kids to worry about,browsing in the  shops instead of bulldozing through,spending money…what isn’t there to be excited about!?) I was in need of a real coffee.But not before I passed the American Candy Store!And we all know how well the Yanks do chocolate & peanut butter!What’s a girl to do?! Buy peanut butter M&Ms of course!! *drool*

Now I’ve lost my train of thought….all in all a successful mommy-only morning!