Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coming To An End

It has been STINKING HOT these last few post-Christmas days so staying home with the air con has been the preferred way to spend the day. Hit the sales?? Nuh-uh..... I couldn't handle the pre-Christmas madness so I'm steering clear of them. The beach and I aren't the best friends either, my English heritage has ensured that the only shade I go, other than white, is red. Plus I don't like getting my head/face wet (yes, an eccentricity of mine and even weirder is that I don't like to do it in the shower.....)


As we tend to do at this time of year, I've been reflecting on the year and what I hope for for 2012.

The BIGGEST highlight for 2011 was the arrival of our darling Harper. We feel so blessed to have her, she is our perfect miracle and we just can't get enough of her!!

Michaela has grown into a kind, and very chatty, little girl. Twelve months ago we were concerned with her speech development, it seemed to be delayed in comparison with children her age, but now she is a talking-machine/negotiator/comedian and she amazes us daily.

We attended a number of weddings this past year, friends have also fallen pregnant, had babies and we managed to squeeze in a couple of little trips away- all wonderful!

I look forward to an improved home life in 2012 after having some major problems with our drug dealing neighbour earlier this year. His 'line of work' impacted considerably on us to the point that we considered selling our home. This situation thankfully changed around the time of Harper's birth with new tenants moving in so we're hoping that those dramas are behind us.

I strongly believe that 'Health is Wealth' and while this past year hasn't been perfect (Michaela fractured her arm, Harper required physiotherapy shortly after her birth to address torticollis along with a tongue tie that made feeding for the first month tricky, messy and publicly awkward and I had some post-partum complications that put me back in hospital for a few days when Harper was ten days old) as a family we do have a lot to be grateful for.

On the work front I hope to do some casual work- relief teaching, uni exam supervision in order to fund Little Cloud Factory's return to some hand made markets. Unfortunately I didn't participate in any markets this year and I want to change this going forward. Juggling two children while trying to be a wife, run a home, do some sewing, have a shower, brush my hair.......has certainly been a new learning experience these last six months. It has taught me to not set unrealistic goals and to be flexible with those that I do set. Heading into a new year I hope to be motivated by a few personal goals so hopefully 2012 will see me:
  1.  Learn to crochet
  2. Create new softie patterns
  3. Participate in a couple of hand made markets
  4. Learn to use Photoshop (and take better photos with my camera!)
  5. Make more clothes for my girls
 Happy New Year and may every day of 2012 be filled with happiness.

Penelope xx

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santa Dropped By

Preparing a snack for Santa and Rudolph on Christmas Eve
Thankfully Santa did stop by our house the other day and made one little girl very happy. Along with (quite) a few little gifts, the 'big girl' bike was the highlight present for Michaela. She had also written to Santa asking for a Sock Monkey which he took on board.
Harper enjoyed her first Christmas. She happily went from person to person for cuddles throughout the day and similarly got some lovely gifts.
I was spoilt too! Santa brought a toaster for me- never did I think that I would get excited about a toaster but it's this one and it's pretty fancy. Tea and fruit toast- my perfect start to the day :)
Harper and Lotty the Ladybug

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Arrival Gift

A gift for our friends' newest (and cutest) child; hand painted name plaque and softie guitar from this tutorial.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Make It Yourself - Santa Sack

Just a couple more sleeps until the big man in the red suit drops by. Preparations are still in full swing at our house and I can't wait to fall in a heap celebrate our first Christmas as a family of four.

I managed to finish the girls' Santa Sacks just in time. You could honestly make one of these in half an hour but I chose to do some hand stitching which made them take about one and a half hours each. Michaela is well chuffed with hers and despite it being empty!! Here is a little run down if you would like to make one yourself.

Materials for one Santa Sack
The completed sack is approximately 52cms x 70cms

Fabric- 80cm x fabric width (110cm)
Ribbon/ Trim/ Ric Rac- 110cm
Cotton Twill Ribbon - 100cm
3 sheets felt
3mm cord -160cms
Embroidery thread and needle

1 Cut fabric to dresired length (I chose 80cms)

2 Fold down top edge approx 1cm (as per pic below) and iron flat. Fold over again so that the raw is concealed. Stitch in place.

3 Place ric rac on right side of fabric 5 cms from top edge and pin in place. Stitch.

4 Fold over edge of twill ribbon (to prevent fraying) and pin this in place 5 cms below ric rac. Ensure that this ribbon on centred on the fabric. Stitch along top and bottom of ribbon.

5 Now fold the fabric in half, carefully lining up the edges and pin securely. Stitch the side edge (selvedge edges) and bottom to create the sack. The selvedge edges will not fray but I chose to zig zag the raw edge of the bottom seam. Turn right side out.

6 I decided on a simple initial for each of the girls' Santa Sacks. I printed the letters before pinning and cutting them out from the felt. I blanket stitched the red felt letter onto green felt before tracing out a large circle on the green felt and cutting it out. The hand stitching was obviously more time consuming, you can machine stitch the felt initial in place of course and use a fancy machine stitch. The 6 strands of embroidery thread does stand out nicely on the completed sack though ;)

7 Pin the green felt circle in the centre of one side of the sack. Stich in place, again I blanket stitched this but machine is fine.

8 Thread cord through the 'tunnel' created with the twill ribbon. Tie each end with a knot to prevent fraying (I also used some Fraystop)

9 Leave under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with presents!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Break

We're off today for a little pre-Christmas getaway down south. Yesterday was spent packing and cleaning the house. Amongst it all I started on Santa Sacks for the girls, here's a sneak peak of how they got started. I'll be sharing the finished sacks and a little tutorial next week. Until then, have a wonderful week!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

5 months

Harper's fifth month:
  • Rolling over from back to tummy- no stopping her now!
  • Lots of dribbling, the teeth are on their way
  • Plenty of smiles, giggles and baby talk

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's Been Going On

I love Christmas and watching my own children now experience this exciting time is just lovely. Michaela and Santa are not besties yet again this year, she's happy to see him from a distance but within 5 metres and you can expect tears. I don't blame her, all you can see are eyes hidden under a hat and enormous beard and a very ill fitting red suit so if 5 metres is our limit then so be it. The decorations on the tree, the multitude of flashing lights adorning houses and the increase in chocolate around the house have created a lot of excitement this year and the build up to Christmas Day is mentioned daily.

As the years progress, however, I find myself more and more 'grrrr' as we approach Christmas. The increase in people in the shops and the aggressive driving on the roads and the car parks frazzle me. Throw in weddings, Christmas catch ups and wind-ups, stifling heat and I soon crave some quiet days at home. I've turned to online shopping for my last few gifts and we have a week away planned for next week- bliss!!!

We went to Busselton this last weekend to watch my brother-in-law compete in the Ironman. The event was spectacular and I am in awe of everyone who competes in such an event. It was also a 'trial getaway' with the two girls so that next week's little holiday may be a little smoother. (All 4 of us slept in the one room- NEVER AGAIN!! I got a total of 2 hours sleep.......)

Last night we went to see Grinderman perform in Fremantle. Nick Cave, Warren Ellis......awesome musicians and music.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Michaela's Room

I'm pretty conservative when it comes to colour in my home. Most rooms are quite neutral so when it came to creating a big girl room for Michaela, I threw out all my usual decorating preferences and went a little colour crazy!

Michaela made the transition from cot to bed with ease. I wanted her to move well before the arrival of her sister so that she had plenty of time to settle in to her new surroundings. She was also starting to outgrow her cot- she's on her way to being 6 foot this girl!

For the life of me I can't remember the name of the paint colour but as you can see, it's a turquoise/ aqua. We chose the Ikea Hemnes day bed; a popular choice as it converts to a double bed later on with a roll out trundle and 3 great storage drawers. The Queen Anne chest of drawers was mine when I was a child and the Brentwood chair was a gift from my grandparents when I moved in to this house. I spray painted it a few years ago and it fits in quite nicely here. The quilt cover was purchased about two years ago from Spotlight; I love kokeshi dolls. I then went about collecting brightly coloured accessories.
Picture frames, pink flower wall light and floating shelves - Ikea
Butterfly mirror - Freedom
Wall art- Feed Your Soul art project, babushka wrapping paper, Blue Finch Studios Numbers Print, Kokeshi canvas from The Reject Shop, Clock from Kmart
Book storage - Deals Direct
Retro chair - Baby Bunting
Lanterns - Thingz
Coat rack - from childhood
Bunting - Giggleberry Creations
(See Harper's nursery here)