Secret Christmas Wishes

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Dec 012016
 

christmas-holly

With all eyes on the kids on Christmas morning it is easy to forget about their wonderful mamas, who (usually) have been very good yet often miss out on presents. Of course it is totally normal to put your children first and spend your entire December budget on fulfilling their Christmas wish lists (meanwhile Santa takes all the credit!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few sneaky Christmas wishes too. Just in case there is a generous Santa reading along, here are my five secret Christmas wishes:

kirstin-ash-bespokeFor some time I have been admiring the stunning Kirstin Ash ‘Bespoke’ collection, a gorgeous range of mix and match jewellery that allows you to create your own unique look. I have been picturing a pretty silver and rose gold combination of five initial charms (to represent my precious tribe of kids) and two or three add-ons, I think it would look fantastic and I would definitely wear it with pride.

sneaking-duckWith the new year just around the corner I always feel the need to change my look and make a nice fresh start. Getting the big chop at the hairdresser is generally followed by regret, so this time around I might going for a less drastic change with a new pair of glasses. I am currently coveting these trendy Sneaking Duck spectacles, the classic blue and traditional bamboo mix is just my style and would go with pretty much anything.

endota-spa-gift-voucherAs much as I adore my big family, being a mum of five young children is hard work and there is rarely any time for relaxation. The thought of some proper pampering, a good massage and a quiet room (and maybe a tiny snooze…) is pure bliss to me, so to find an Endota Spa gift voucher under the tree would be absolutely amazing. The only small problem will be to find the time to actually go there, but I will just have to lock it in on the family calendar.

love-my-teethAnother secret little Christmas wish of mine is whiter teeth. Although I thankfully have quite straight teeth thanks to wearing expensive braces as a teenager I would really love to brighten them by just a few shades. The high costs of in-chair treatment at the dentist (and the fact that success is not guaranteed) have been holding me back, but maybe a safe, in-home teeth whitening kit will fit within Santa’s budget?

brother-sewing-machineLast but not least, and I know this may sound a little dorky, I have always wanted to learn how to sew and make my four girls some lovely handmade dresses. Right now I can just sew on a lost button and fix a broken knee on school pants but that’s about it, to own a good, easy-to-use sewing machine would be a dream come true (and if it came with a few classes for beginners that would be even better!).

Go on, tell me about your secret Christmas wishes…

Sew Sista

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Sew Sista
Oct 182014
 

Sew Sista

No matter what toy catalogue you open up, it’s bound to be full of loud, battery operated toys, bright coloured plastic, game consoles and over-sexualised dolls. This Christmas why not surprise your daughter with a gift that’s packed with lovely, warm, old school charm (yet isn’t old fashioned at all), meet Sew Sista:

Sew Sista range

Created right here in Australia by a lovely bunch of crafty mamas Sew Sista is a truly refreshing concept that is winning hearts all over the country. The gorgeous range of sewing kits and accessories is specifically designed for young girls who love to get busy with their hands, I know my girls do!

FSew Sista Mini Sewing Kitabric and ribbons, buttons and pins, needles and thread, scissors and stuffing, Sew Sista’s got everything your little crafter needs to start her very own sewing journey. Featuring bright colours and funky prints it is a very appealing range and a wonderful project for (grand)mothers to share with their (grand)daughters or for siblings or a couple of friends to work on together.

Sew Sista Sewing CaseThe divine large Sew Sista Sewing Case (RRP $59.95, available in blue, pink and orange) is an absolute delight, I would have been so proud to own one of these when I was a child and my own daughters would be just as thrilled. Bring back the evenings of sewing on the couch in front of the fire place or sitting at the kitchen table together and creating a beautiful handmade treasure (Can you tell I am big fan of Little House on the Prairie?).

You can find the Sew Sista range online at Where Did You Get That?, prices start at $9.95 for a small craft pack and go up to $59.95 for the big Sewing Case making Sew Sista a great gift suggestion for any budget. Be prepared because sewing is rather addictive so you could be setting your daughter up for life here, she’ll be asking for more supplies for her sewing case in no time! On the other hand, a daughter who can sew her own buttons back on is pretty handy to have in the house.

To find out more about Where Did You Get That?, to browse the Sew Sista range and to order online visit www.wheredidyougetthat.com.au.

Apr 072012
 

You might remember that back in December I wrote about Happy Homemade Vol.1: Treasured Collection, a beautiful Japanese craft book with ladies fashion designed by Yoshiko Tsukiori. Craft lovers from all over the world have already fallen in love with her style and I have no doubt they will be very excited to hear about Yoshiko’s latest addition for the book shelf, the Girls Style Book.

The Girls Style Book offers 88 pages of pure delight for mums of little girls between 4 and 10 years old. With 24 great projects to choose from your daughter could soon have a wardrobe filled with the cutest dresses, tunics, blouses and even whole outfits. Of course all these gorgeous designs are full of the stunning details Japanese craft is famous for: ruches, frills, lace, buttons, gathering and much more.

All the patterns are included, safely kept in an envelope at the back of the book, and together with the detailed instructions your little lady will be wearing your handmade creations in no time. The Girls Style Book even has patters for matching bags, hats and headbands to complete the outfits. You will grab this book of the shelf again and again as the options are endless, just pick your favourite fabric and get sewing.

You can find Girls Style Book: Japanese Craft by Yoshiko Tsukiori (RRP $29.95, published by Penguin) in bookstores across Australia as well as at online book retailers.

Clothes Plasters by Jennie Maizels

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Jan 302012
 

This week all Australian kids are back at school, dressed in their freshly laundered school uniforms and carrying a nice new lunchbox. Time to sort through the wardrobe and make a pile of ‘after school clothes’, comfy garments perfect for a relaxing afternoon. You might come across some pieces with a little hole or some scuffed knees or elbows, don’t throw them out because of it! Grab yourself a packet of Jennie Maizels Clothes Plasters and your iron and turn those items into unique works of art, there is plenty more wear left in them.

Clothes Plasters are designed by illustrator Jennie Maizels, a very talented mum-of-two who lives in the UK. The Clothes Plasters are, well, plasters for clothes, created to hide and enforce the little holes and weak spots in your favourite garments so you can enjoy them a little longer. But they are not just practical, they are very stylish too with many gorgeous plasters to choose from in boys and girls designs.

You can buy the embroidered Clothes Plasters as individuals, pairs or even in sets with a special theme. Robots and army emblems for the boys, fairies, hearts and toadstools for the girls, or maybe a circus or London theme? Kids will scrape their knees on purpose when they see these. Once you have picked the spot for your Clothes Plaster you simply use your iron to attach it to the garment, instructions are super easy and fool proof.

Jennie’s talent doesn’t just show from the Clothes Plasters, the packaging is also absolutely beautiful. If you love her designs as much as I do you will adore the special Clothes Plasters Tins, each tin contains 10 different Clothes Plasters and at just $14.73 I think they are a real fabulous find. Keep some Clothes Plasters on hand in your sewing box for quick and hip repairs of all your kids clothes.

To find out more about Jennie Maizels, to browse the range and to order your favourite Clothes Plasters online visit www.jenniemaizels.com. Delivery to Australia is just $5.16.

Dec 112011
 

People who know me well know that I don’t like clutter and unnecessary ‘stuff’, if we haven’t used items for a year or so I see no need to keep them any longer and find a good home for them. Toys are put to good use in the church and clothes go to the local op-shop. But hiding in the corner of our bedroom, usually covered by piles of folded laundry that need to be put away, is something I haven’t used for a long time, or ever really, yet I can’t say goodbye to it.

I am talking about my sewing machine, an old Janome that I picked up at a garage sale 3 years ago when I was still under the impression I would soon have some free time to learn how to use it. I still hope I will one day and when I do know how to work it I am going to make something from the lovely book Happy Homemade Vol.1: Treasured Collection.

This absolutely gorgeous craft book by Yoshiko Tsukiori features 20 projected for handmade women’s clothing. Originating in Japan these beautiful designs are now translated into English and adapted for Western sizing so we can all recreate and enjoy Yoshiko’s style. What really appeals to me is the loose-fitting cut of most pieces (perfect for the post-baby body many of us are left with) yet each garment is still elegant and feminine thanks to the small details and materials chosen.

I can easily see myself wear many of these styles, if only I knew how to make them! Sweet tunics, cute dresses, little jackets, items ideal for mixing and matching and you can pick colours and fabrics that suit your taste perfectly. The full colour photo’s and very detailed instructions will help you create a new wardrobe full of handmade treasures. The patterns are supplied on two separate sheets and cover Australian sizes 6-16.

You can find Happy Homemade Vol. 1: Treasured Collection by Yoshiko Tsukiori (RRP $29.95, published by Penguin) in bookstores across Australia as well as at online book retailers.

Hop Skip Jump

 Baby, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Hop Skip Jump
Nov 202011
 

It seems like a lifetime ago but before I had children I used to love spending time on crafty projects like quilting and sewing. It goes without saying that I was never very good at it but I always really enjoyed it and found it incredibly relaxing and sometimes the end result wasn’t to bad at all. If I had more time I would love to pick up this hobby once again, there are so many beautiful handmade things out there that I would like to attempt to make. Even if you are an amateur like me you could try the easy projects in Hop Skip Jump.

Hop Skip Jump by Australian mum Fiona Dalton features 20 absolutely gorgeous eco-friendly toys to sew. If you have visited Fiona’s blog before you will know that her work is unique, beautiful and timeless and a delight to both make and give to the special little people in your life. The designer toys in Hop Skip Jump are no exemption, any child would be happy to receive a lovingly made sausage dog called Doris, a tortoise called Harriet or a cute mouse called Eddy.

Fiona is passionate about doing her share for the environment so she uses as many recycled, preloved materials as possible and of course they are often cheaper too. She has used parts of an old woollen jacket, pieces of felt, second-hand linen and other bits and bobs to come up with a range of classic toys that will remind you of your childhood and are made to last. The step-by-step instructions are written in easy to understand language and are accompanied by clear drawings and photo’s. The photography in this beautiful, hardcover book is just gorgeous and will make your fingers itch to get started on a Hop Skip Jump project of your own.

All the patterns you need to create your own Hop Skip Jump toys are included on a separate sheet of paper, making it very easy to mark your fabrics. Patterns are stored in a handy envelope pocket at the back of this book so they won’t get lost. I tried my very inexperienced hand at putting together Eddy the Mouse from a small piece of fabric I had left, he is far from perfect but the kids think he looks great (they are just trying to be polite).

You can find Fiona Dalton’s Hop Skip Jump (RRP $35, published by Viking) in bookstores across Australia as well as at online book retailers.

Little Things For Busy Hands

 Eco, Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on Little Things For Busy Hands
Oct 142011
 

Just a few more days and the school holidays are over, a relief for many mums who have struggled to keep the kids busy whilst they were stuck inside due to the rainy weather. Sometimes it can be hard to come up with craft projects for kids and craft books are often not much help as you need a whole range of craft supplies, tools and machinery to make them work and most of them require lots of adult help and supervision too.

The new book Little Things for Busy Hands: 16 crafty projects for kids to make without a sewing machine! by Katie Evans contains 16 simple craft projects for kids that they can make (pretty much) by themselves. With the help of colourful images, step-by-step instructions (aimed at children) and clear diagrams children can create all sort of things. From mobiles to soft toys, jewellery to wall art and everything in between, this book will give them plenty of ideas to keep them busy.

What I really like is that the projects in this book often require just a few supplies and many of them can be ‘leftovers’: small scraps of fabric, a stick from the garden, a couple of pieces of used wrapping paper, some bits of wool. This leaves plenty of room for recycling items you would otherwise throw out and it keeps the costs down too (we all know most craft projects don’t hang around forever). The books also leaves a lot of room for variations, so you can easily replace some of the items by alternatives.

The paper beads are very easy to make, just cut a longish triangle out of coloured and/or patterned paper and roll it around a pencil to create your own unique beads. It will be a fantastic way to recycle all the beautiful wrapping paper that stays behind after birthdays or Christmas and it makes a real original piece of jewellery. Each process is carefully explained (it takes 5 steps to create the Paper Bead necklace) so the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Although the twins are a little bit too young to try their hands at these fun projects they loved looking at the beautiful images and instructed me to make them a wild thing puppet. I didn’t have any fabrics as beautiful as Katie’s, nor did I have any felt but with a few scraps of fabric and some ribbbon I made them a miniature wild thing puppet to fit their small hands. It took me just 1 hour and I am pretty happy with the end result (and they must be too because they took their puppets to bed with them last night)!

You can find Little Things for Busy Hands (RRP $24.95, 136 pages) in bookstores across Australia as well as at online book retailers.