Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas

How are your Christmas preparations coming along?

 Are you feeling ready and organised or just totally stressed and over it all?

 I have to say, I'm feeling pretty stressed and pretty disorganised and I don't think I'm alone.

 The decorations are up and all the presents are bought but there's always more to do isn't there?
Do you try to do too much at this time of year? Set yourself ridiculous goals and then
beat yourself up if you don't acheive them? I'm afraid I'm pretty guilty of that.

Given that I still have this horrible throat infection, I'm making a concerted effort to try to relax and let the kids lead the way with what we do over the next couple of days. They are old enough (and not too old!) to help out with lots of the preparations so my pre-New Year resolution is to let them help and not to let myself get stressed over the small stuff that doesn't matter!

 If I don't make it back here to update the blog before Christmas, have a wonderful break and a lovely time with your family.
Sarah x

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dance 'till you drop

I'm sorry I haven't been updating my blog recently. As many of you will know, life tends to get in the way of normality and routine at this time of year and things have certainly been a bit crazy around here. The kids have had dance concerts and school concerts and we had the big Devonport Christmas Festival on 5th December which was my last market of the year thank goodness! I've been filling orders for Christmas since then and last weekend, my body decided it had had enough and I came down with a really nasty cold which knocked me out all weekend. The orders are nearly all done, but I now have a bacterial throat infection which isn't much fun at all. I'm really looking forward to the Christmas break and just spending time with my family so I hope you will forgive me if I'm not a regular blogger for a few more weeks!

My girls had their dance concert on 4th December. I know that lots of you wanted to see photos of them in their costumes so here they are.

They looked so grown up with their stage make up on!

Sorry about all the blurriness but you get the general idea!

Maddy and her hip hop class danced to a Justin Beiber song

The ballet flowers again. So cute!

In the end I made 6 of the silver tops and headbands for Maddy's hip hop class and 12 headbands and 10 fairy skirts for Eloise's ballet class. Unfortunately the headbands started 'wilting' before the show but lots of hairspray onto the acrylic felt seemed to fix them all long enough for the dance! I was helping backstage for both dances but Richard took some film so I was able to see the girls perform.

One more photo for you. This one was taken by Richard's nephew, Nick, at his Dad's birthday party a few weeks ago. Definately one for the 21st Birthday album!

How's a girl supposed to go anywhere without keys?
Photo: Nick Thorne.
Take care. Sarah x

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Creative Space

I SHOULD be getting ready for this Sunday's Devonport Craft Market on the Windsor Reserve (part of the Devonport Christmas Festival). I SHOULD be updating my online shops in time for last minute Christmas orders. And I SHOULD be busy making Christmas presents for family and friends but guess what? My sewing machine is throwing a complete fit this morning so I have left it to rest for a while in the hope that it will be in a better mood later on and instead, I'm making Christmas fruit mince.

This is going to be SO good. I can't wait to stick it in Christmas mince pies. Yum! It has to soak for a few weeks though. It's meant to be a month but I'm counting on the amount of alcohol in there to do the job quicker! 

I was loosely following a Women's weekly recipe for Fruit mix but I've basically added the contents of my baking cupboard. There's sultanas, dates, fruit cake mix, 3 grated apples, lime juice, a grated and chopped mandarin, some crushed pineapple that was sitting in the fridge, ground almonds, mixed spice and lots of cointreau in there. I'll add some more goodies like glace cherries and ginger and probably some more fruit cake mix once I've been to the supermarket. It smells so good already. Even my 4 year old told me it smelt like Christmas. How does she know? Amazing what these little ones pick up on and remember from year to year.
Keep your fingers crossed that my sewing machine recovers and pop over to Kootoyoo for some fab Creative Spaces.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A little scrumptiousness!

I've just ordered a pattern from Sarah of Dolls and Daydreams for her Dolly Daydreams dolls.

I really love the look of these. Eloise loves them too so I know what to make for one of her Christmas gifts! As well as being an amazing crafter, Sarah is a very talented artist and I think that really comes out in the detail of these dolls. I can't wait to make some. I'm planning on making a couple extra for my stall too. You can buy your own pattern in her Etsy shop here. While you are there, check out her awesome printable eco-dolls houses.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Alice in Wonderland Party

We had such a hot day for Maddy's Alice in Wonderland birthday party. We had 16 kids in total and I set up the tables under my market gazebo. 

 Having two girls means I can recycle a lot of our party decorations each birthday. The pink plastic plates have now seen 4 birthday partys and the glass bottles have been through two. You might remember the tissue paper flowers that you can just see on the fence from Eloise's Flower fairy party.
 The only new decorations were the white rabbit (didn't Richard do a great job painting it?) which was a paper mache one from Spotlight and the $3/metre cupcake print fabric that I used down the centre of the table. Richard's Mum brought us lots of beautiful posies of flowers from her garden and we filled jam jars and teapots with them for table decorations. I was amazed how many teapots we own. 6 is a little excessive isn't it?!
 I also indulged in these very gorgeous Alice in Wonderland printables from here. They were so beautiful and really added something special to the party.
 The cupcake cases came from Living and Giving. I ended up buying chocolate cupcakes (on special!) from Foodtown as I didn't have enough time to make them.
 The girls all had apple juice to drink and we had cucumber and ham sandwiches, cheerios (cocktail sausages), fruit skewers, cupcakes and chippies (crisps) for afternoon tea.
Maddy looked so sweet dressed as Alice. It was so hot that a lot of the kids ditched parts of their costumes as the day went on.

 The banner came from the same place as the printables above. I really loved it.
 We had lots of fun decorating the garden with Alice themed signs and heart balloons (and the odd white rabbit toy). The kids got really into it and a few of them mentioned the sign and the decorations.
 I loved the look of these paper lanterns hanging from the gazebo. 
The kids went all out with their costumes. I particularly loved the Cheshire Cat. She looked outstanding!
 We hung a big black sheet over the gate and the kids came through it to tea. We told them all it was the rabbit hole and they loved it.
 Eloise insisted on dressing up as Dinah, Alice's cat. She looked so cute (particularly when she changed into her togs half way through the party!)
 Maddy really enjoyed herself.
 The cake was super simple. I covered a board in green icing. I cut a square cake in half and piled the two halves on top of each other to make a tall, long table. I covered it with ready to roll icing and then Maddy helped me add the Alice characters and various icing flowers and hearts. We put some Sylvanian family cakes and cups on the table and then finally made bunting using the printables and two skewers. Definately the quickest cake I've ever made!
Here's a photo of Richard and I in our costumes at the end of the day. Shattered, but still smiling. Richard looked incredible! He got really into his role as the Mad Hatter. I had to tone down my chopping off of heads as a couple of the girls looked very worried when they turned up!

I'd really recommend this theme for a girls party. It was so much fun and you can do as little or as much as you want. Hopefully, Eloise wants an Alice party in a few years too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Alice....

or should I say less? If you've read or watched the movie of Alice in Wonderland, you'll know that Alice drinks from a bottle marked 'drink me' and she shrinks to a size small enough to be able to go through a tiny doorway into Wonderland.
One of the beautiful illustrations from Richard's family copy of Alice in Wonderland which
we've been reading to the girls this week.
The first activity I have lined up for Maddy's Alice in Wonderland Party this weekend is making Alice pendants. We're using Shrinky Dink plastic.This is totally awesome stuff that you can buy in refill pack form from Whitcoulls if you are in NZ. It's a green packet by Klutz and contains 8 A4 size plain sheets. You draw a picture on it, colour it in with coloured pencils, stick it in the oven and it shrinks down to make any drawing look gorgeous.
The Shrinky Dink plastic ready to be cut out and coloured in at the party.
The plan is that the girls will colour in pictures of Alice on the plastic and we'll then shrink them and turn them into pendants whilst they are having their afternoon tea. I love that we are shrinking Alice. Things like that make me happy. I don't think any of the kids will get it but it's got me excited!

I'm also very excited to have discovered this afternoon that you can print onto the Shrinky Dink plastic. I was planning on drawing 16 Alice's by hand for the girls to colour in but printing means that my job has been done in a few moments. If you want to print some Shrinky Dink Alices, I found the clipart here . Just copy an image into a picture editing file like Paint and copy it several times so you can fit lots to a page.

And whilst we are talking about making things tiny, look at these BEAUTIFUL rings that my friend Sarah of Songbird Designs made for the party favours. I think the girls are going to love these. I've put them into little paper mache boxes topped with an Alice Image that I got as part of my Alice Party Printables from TomKat Studios  and there's a little note from Maddy on the bottom of the box.

Just the food to do now. Ha! I almost forgot about that! Luckily, tea parties are pretty straightforward as far as food is concerned. Cake and sandwiches and they will all be happy! I'll post photos of the party next week.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Creative Space - my little flower

I've been dying to get online and show you these photos of Eloise's finished flower costume for her ballet show. Unfortunately, we've had a fault on our telephone line for most of the day so I haven't been able to do it. We're back online again now though (phew!) so here they are.

 The girls are just wearing leaves on one wrist so they can remember which hand to put in the centre as part of the dance which is a very smart move I think! .
The petal headband needs some work I think. I made ten of these in one go and this one suffered a little in the process! I've got another two to make for the older girls who are dancing with the littlies as well so I'll redo Eloise's at that stage.
 I've just got to get a couple of Lady Gaga costumes together and and all 22 dance costumes will be done! So glad to have that out of the way.
For some fab Creative Spaces, pop over to Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A very important date.

I'm getting ready for a very important date. My gorgeous Madeleine is turning 7 and the house is being turned upside down as I go ever so slightly crazy with the Alice in Wonderland theme she is having for her party.
(customised printable tags from here. Fabric to be used as a tablecloth from Spotlight.)

She is having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party and as you will see, I've been having a lot of fun with it.

(Teapot and cosy, Op shop finds.
Drink me labels from here.)

(This rabbit is going to be the table centrepiece once Richard has painted it white. It was about NZ$12 from Spotlight.)
Richard is dressing up as the Mad Hatter for the day and I will be the Red Queen (threatening to chop off heads if there is any misbehaviour! Looking forward to that one!)

Eloise wants to be Dinah, Alice's cat, so that's nice and easy as we already have a black cat costume.
The party girl herself is of course going to be Alice and I finished her costume last night.
She's going to look so adorable. The figurines that you've seen in the pictures were a lucky find on Trade Me. They are going on the cake to make life very easy for me.

I think that's why Alice looks so worried. She has seen the size of the cake knife. Actually, when all 18 kids arrive, I will probably have a very similar expression on my face.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space - Ready, Steady....

I love Christmas and the whole bit leading up to it.
 Did you know that there are only 5 and a bit weeks left until the big day?
 (Brief guest appearance from the the cat that likes to get in the way. Very helpful Kipper.
Can you move now please?)
Now where was I? Oh yes, 'The bit leading up to Christmas'. Five and a bit weeks. That's not long in Mummy and Daddy land is it? There's an awful lot to be done during that time. The gift buying, the food stocking, the light checking and the dusting off of the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, in small children land, five and a bit weeks is an eternity. I may well have let the cat out of the bag yesterday... by accident and the Overexcited Children in this house may have got a little preemptive. I will now have to deal with five and a bit weeks of hourly asking about when Santa is coming and when we are going to Aunty Gennys house for lunch.

 I've got two Christmas markets this week to help the people living in Mummy and Daddy Land out with the gift buying bit of the pre-Christmas preparations (five and a bit weeks isn't long you know!).
 One of those markets is tonight, at Gladstone School, 5-9pm (you can see all the details in the sidebar over to the right there.) Anyhoo... in the spirit of Christmas markets, I got the decorations down from the cupboard yesterday so I could make my stall look quite festive (think sock monkeys in a Christmas tree). I was unfortunately a little less than secretive about it and there was a great deal of ripping open of boxes and squeals by certain small people.
 So I have been sprung and will have to deal with the impatient wails of small people; but my stall is going to look very festive, so that's okay. I have another Christmas market on Sunday. Devonport Craft Market is going all festive on Sunday 21st Nov 10-3pm. We even have a festive eftpos machine which will be manned by the very helpful Mr Cotton Kiwi.
So if you have some Christmas shopping to do for small (and big people, I have goodies for them too!), why not come along tonight or on Sunday and get your shopping out of the way?
And if it's a little too far to come there is always Etsy and Felt. There are links to my shops in the sidebar there.

Now, enough of the shameless self promotion, I'm going to send you off to visit all the other Creative Spaces over at Kootoyoo now. Have a great day!


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