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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No wonder I couldn’t find the camera

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My little darlings stole the camera and got merry with it yesterday. They had returned it to the computer table . . . along with lots of other stuff that should be there, so finding it was a bit of a mission. DSCF2271

However, it’s difficult to be too grumpy (something that’s not difficult at all for me at the moment) when you see these pictures. DSCF2268

But there were some very exciting things I wanted to share and I really didn’t want to wait until tomorrow or the big thing inside my head that is filled with holes (I call it my memory) would have lost it.

Book

This has been the best, and easiest read I have in a long time. It’s by a Kiwi author and is a lovely little chick lit book for a summer holiday. I highly recommend it. It’s one of those “pass it along” books we all have pass by our bedroom tables from time to time.

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And this. It’s the start of the blanket I’m going to make for my mother. I am currently in the middle of my baby blanket job but ran short of my lemon yarn yesterday so I had to fill in the time between Spotlight visits somehow. The blanket I’d based my colours around was more dominated by brown, which I totally loved, but I know my mum and she’ll love something lighter and brighter. You’ll find a link to the pattern in yesterday’s post, however, I do have a warning.

With the utmost respect to the designer of this beautiful blanket, I found her instructions quite difficult to follow. In the end I sat down and went through round by round writing my own brand of crochet shorthand. I’m absolutely certain that my scribble is even harder for someone to follow than the original pattern, but whatever works. And in her defence, it’s such an intuitive pattern that once you’ve made the first block you’ll be away laughing. I’m just sad I have to fold this up and put it away until a later date. Of course, I’d like for it to be a surprise too (if I can keep the children quiet) so I won’t be taking it away on holiday with us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And Christmas Has Gone

We had a loDSCF2258ng but enjoyable day filled with sunshine and laughter. Thankfully there were plenty of things to keep the children amused so Granddad could have his afternoon nap.

 

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It turned into three generations of crafty girls. I cannot quite believe that we’ve finally (after eight years) found something that will keep Kayley focused and amused for hours. Nanny gave her a Knitting Bee and it was a huge hit.

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In fact it was such a hit that I think we need to get Nanny one for her birthday in March.

 

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Janae even looked like she wanted a go. Unfortunately she’d just fallen off Nanny’s new swing seat (Granddad’s gift to Nanny) and bumped her head so she was covering herself with a cold and wet cloth as a pain killing measure. (I love that children can be healed with water and fabric, just like magic.)

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And I spent the day making this lovely rainbow of colours. The pattern for this can be found here. It’s simple and so effective.

I have been commissioned to make a baby blanket for a baby whose gender will remain a secret until it’s born and I wondered if this might do. However, Corleah has decided she likes the original idea of white, lemon and green. This will have to keep until we go away on holiday and the baby blanket is complete. I need to make Nanny something for her birthday so maybe this might work. Although, I would love to make her this blanket because it’s just beautiful and will fit with my big 2012 challenge, yet to be revealed.

Now’s it’s a case of coping with the come down from all the sweets, hype and excitement of Christmas. We’ve experienced four year old tantrums since six this morning and these have only been distracted by the training wheels going on Rogan’s old bike so Janae can ride it (he got a new shiny one as his knees kept bumping the handlebars on the old one).

And I want to keep playing with my new Cake Mixer but the blanket is a priority so we’ll have to make do with the fabulous chocolate cake I made from Julie Goodwin’s first cook book yesterday.

I hope Christmas is treating you well and you’ve been blessed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Has Arrived

It's Christmas Eve here in NZ and it's been a hot but restful day. We've had a lovely time, just the four of us, hanging out and waiting for Santa. We wrapped some gifts for the childrens' big brothers and grandmothers. Here they are safely under the tree waiting for Santa's gifts to be added.

The girls logged on to You Tube and checked out some of their favourite Christmas songs.

Rogan has had his stocking hanging on the door handle since early this morning.

We got our Santa Stop Here sign up and plugged in. The downside of having Christmas in the summer is that the things that light up just aren't as great in daylight.

And I spent the whole afternoon here making this . . .




















This is the cushion my mum asked me to make for our lovely friends that we'll be staying with on our holiday. It is the first time I've made a cushion and preferred the back to the front. Unfortunately, by the time I got it finished the sun was going down and the colours just don't look so good under flash. Perhaps I'll take some pictures tomorrow.

So it is with sunburned knees, weary eyes and a joyful heart that I wish you a very merry Christmas and an extremely happy New Year. I have some exciting plans for 2012 so tune in then and I'll fill you in. You never know, I may even have a challenge or two for you to join with me in.

God Bless! 
Belinda

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meet the newest member of our family

This is Humphrey, Town Crier Extraordinaire. It's this little chap that's kept me busy for a couple of weeks making sure he's complete for Christmas Day as he's the gift the children are giving Nanny.

My mum fell in love with Camrolyn and was very disappointed that she was promised to another. So we flipped through the book that Andrea had given me for my birthday and she said she liked this little fellow the most.

So here he is in all his glory. He's been such a delight to make. However, I think my fingers are over knitting for the time being. I've got a bandaid on my right pointer finger as I've got stab marks, cuts and even bruises from all the knitting I've been doing of late.

Thankfully the next project, that's well under way, is a crochet cushion cover for the lovely people we'll be staying with on our holiday under Mount Egmont/Taranaki in a couple of weeks time.

All the plans are complete for Christmas, all the gifts are wrapped (except for Humphrey of course), the food is bought and now it's a waiting game until the big day. Goodness, I think this might be the most organised I've ever been. I hope all your preparations are going well too. xx

Friday, December 16, 2011

All projects are a joy but . . .

Some are more joyous than others and this angel was just such a project. I have to be honest, I did for a split second, think, oh no, not another thing to do. And last night I didn't even get the head finished. But this morning, I came home to an untidy house and remembered it was my last day of freedom for over six weeks (summer hols) so I'd better make the most of it.

I sat down with the instructions and, four hours later, had this beautiful lady.



Actually it's really more like about ten hours later because she's been drying in pieces on the window sill today and I've just compiled her all into one angel.

I'm so in love with her that I really think she needs to be at the top of my tree. Unfortunately she's promised to Kim and I'll take great pleasure in dropping her off tomorrow morning. Kim is now expecting me to teach her how to make one. Hmmm, it's a bit optimistic of someone who has never crocheted before. I think we might have to start with something easy like a granny square. Although, if you're a crocheter and you want to make her, you'll find the link to the pattern in yesterday's post.

Thanks Kim, for the inspiration. Now I've got to go get inspired by my hedgehog again!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Still Beavering Away

I haven't been blogging much about my craft lately as I've been totally consumed making the Town Crier hedgehog for my mum for Christmas and he's a long way from complete.

Then today Kim sent me this image and asked if I knew how to make it. Hmmm. Well, a bit of research later and I've found the pattern online here and now I've got to whip up one for her (her words). Sigh, and only one school day left of the year.

But I also had to pop back in tonight to share this lovely image. My littlest has been gifted lots of lovely things from her friend Taysha lately. I'd hidden these particular items away so they could be wrapped up and given to her on Christmas Day along with her new two wheeled scooter. Obviously my hiding skills weren't up to much. It's difficult to tell, but they're Tinkerbell elbow and knee pads. She'd snuck into my bed, donned her pads (inside out if you can believe) and fallen fast asleep. Bless her. My only dilemma now is whether to move her back to her bed or not. I think I may have to because I'm into a fabulous book (which I'll share soon) and I want to read some before sleeping. Let's just hope I don't wake her.

With Friends Like These

It was Kim's birthday last week and upon arrival to help her celebrate you'd be forgiven for thinking it was one of her daughter's birthdays instead. However, it was a fabulous afternoon.

Kim's husband is an owner/operator bouncy castle man and has an amazing array of bouncy castles. This was the one he chose to keep the children amused while the mums were upstairs chatting.

This picture was taken from the upstairs balcony and the children were on eye level with me. I don't think I'd have been so keen to throw myself down this slope but my three had no trouble whatsoever.

There were a number of friction burns on elbows and knees but the laughter, shrieks and hilarity coming from outdoors was proof that burns aren't all that when there's fun to be had.

Thank you Craig and Kim, we had a fabulous time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So Much Fun

Here's proof positive that we indeed braved the bitter easterly winds and the Christmas on the Domain event was fabulous.

And this is us . . . (L-R) Peter, Rex, Alison (or Oma, as we all call her), Jo, Carolyn, me and Anna on the keyboard.

Thanks to the amazing sound crew all the way from Taupo, you were fabulous. Here's looking forward to next year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Picture Frame Upcycle Challenge Reveal

The lovely Carolyn and her asthma friendly Glass Chalk Board.

Corleah and her very stylish traditional chalk board.

Andrea and a fabulous Christmas tree.

We had so much fun making these and all of them came in at under $10 each for the finished product. We enjoyed a fabulous morning tea with some lovely ladies who help us out in our various events throughout the year and now we're looking forward to the next one once the children have gone back to school in February. (It's probably important to point out that the children haven't even finished school yet so we're getting just a little ahead of ourselves.)

Well done my friends.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas is coming

It's been a flurry of preparation and celebration here this weekend. Not only did I get the grass cut (something I've been moaning about for days . . . just ask my friends) but I also got the Christmas stockings made.

One of the Nana's gave me some stockings for the children a couple of years ago. I'm grateful but they were so big that Janae (now four) can fit inside hers, and it was posing a few problems with regards to the need to have a mountain of toys just to go in the stockings.

When I was a child we had one of my Dad's work socks hung from the mantle. Barbie would sit under mine and Action Man would sit under my brothers so that Santa would know which belonged to each child. Well, I think we've moved on from work socks so I whipped up these yesterday. The children chose their own material and now they're looking forward to hanging them up in anticipation of Santa. They're only about 40cm high and are much more practical.

And last night we had our Christmas on the Domain event. Thankfully the rain stayed away, the wind, however was bracing. But we all had a fabulous time.

Now you have to check out this local band. Kokomo are a local group that would probably come under the genre of Blues but are so much more. I absolutely fell in love with these guys and am rushing out to get an album. Very toe tapping, bum wiggling tunes that you can't help but sway along to.

Now I've got to get everyone ready for the Sunday School prize giving this morning. Kayley's very excited about getting her chance to sing for once. Go Kayley!

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Heavenly Headbands

I dragged the children into Spotlight this afternoon, against all my better judgment because they have half price yarn this weekend. Well, it was a success all round really. The children behaved beautifully I'm so pleased to say and I found this gem for a mere $4.

It's Bella Baby Layette bamboo and wool blend. I had been wanting to get some cotton to give another headband a go, but with Christmas coming up the budget is a bit tight so I didn't think I'd be getting any this soon. At $4 it was a bargain I couldn't miss.

All through Kayley's volleyball game this evening I was secretly looking into my bag at the variagated loveliness and as soon as the children were tucked up in bed I whipped it out and got started. This headband will be for Katie, should her mummy love it too. Corleah mentioned colours such as pink, purple and lime green, and I'd originally had a vision of blocks of different colours. But I think the variagted looks pretty good really. I'll just have to wait and see what the verdict is.

I've also been asked to make a "cuff" which can be found here . . . on Pinterest. Now that's going to take some working out to make a pattern as pretty as that. Greta (who asked for this) has a wedding to go to next weekend and I've given her a dress I loved too much to give away to charity, and I'd love to be able to make something to go with it, but I just don't think I'll have the time unfortunately. Oh well, maybe in the New Year.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

It shouldn't be this hard

I commented to a friend the other day that we spend all year telling one another how busy our lives are and then BOOM the first of December arrives and life goes into overdrive. Really, it shouldn't be this difficult.

The children are exhausted, I'm exhausted and we're all just a little grumpy. But thankfully, there are always little things that make us know we can cope with another day. This bowl of baubles sitting on my kitchen bench has been winkling at me all day and makes me smile when I walk past.

Last night was the final Crafty Girls session of 2011 and the first that I have been allowed to be in charge of. I did confess to the Lovely Carolyn, that I'd felt a little bullied into having a Christmas Crafty Girls; I think I was a little nervous that those attending might hate my craft idea (i.e. making these baubles), but by the end of the night I was rejuvinated by the laughter, the delicious treats and a lovely cup of coffee. Oh, and the craft helped too.

Thankfully, by 10pm Saturday night my Christmas commitments will be virtually at an end. We have the annual Christmas in the Park and I'm singing with some lovely people. But we have some fabulous bands this year too so I'm only required for an hour of the whole evening which means I'll have some time to sit on a rug with my family and enjoy the atmosphere. We do have one carol service next weekend that I'm required to sing at, and then it's cruising in to Christmas. Bring on the school holidays when I won't have to drag myself out of bed at six to make packed lunches and force unwilling children from their pajamas and into school clothes.

So between now and next Friday it's a case of deep breaths, lots of "help me please" prayers and reminding myself to give the love along with the discipline. I hope you're coping with your pre-Christmas preparations and are remembering to give the love too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Introducing "Camrolyn"

Here, at last, is the gorgeous girl my children have named Camrolyn. Why? Because she was a gift for the lovely Carolyn as a thank you for all she does for Mainly Music. She works hard and takes no credit for it, while giving praise to those of us who assist her. This year I decided that she'd have something lovely too.

It's plain to see she's a Jean Greenhowe pattern, but I've made one or two adjustments. The sunglasses were supposed to be blue on the outside but Carolyn has red framed glasses so we had to personalise those. The skirt too was a different colour but she loves red and pink and floral so it was essential to have something in keeping with the real lady.

The backpack, in the original pattern housed a thermos flask and sandwiches, but I decided to turn the flask pattern into a spare camera lens, for those lovely landscape shots the real Carolyn takes.

And the umbrella was blue with a duck head handle. However, every real photographer needs a sliver light umbrella so that's what we gave her. Little Emily was almost as in love with the doll as her mum, but Carolyn made very sure Emily knew it was her mummy's toy.

This little Christmas tree was my gift from Anna who has an obsession with drift wood this year. (Last year it was river stones.) So she has made each of us a mini drift wood tree. I love this tree and it has a place on my bookshelf at my front door. But today I've hung my baubles on. We have Crafty Girls tonight and I was up late (again) making these so everyone could see what they'd be doing on arrival.

And finally his is a sad sight to share. I love this fabric and I love the headband that I was making for Kayley. However, at the almost complete stage my machine threw another tantrum. I'm pleased to announce that it is under warranty since the new motor was put in, but I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't realise that I'd probably have to add some oil every time I used it, so it's had a wee sieze up. I'm taking it in tomorrow and hope that they can fix it while I wait as I want to make more of these for my girls. And I have to make Christmas stockings too so I need to be able to use my sewing machine.

Now I can see where my first child free week has gone. I had a vision of having the house to myself each day and getting lots of jobs done and having lots of time for craft. Hmmm, I've only spent one full day at home and I shared that with Daniel Craig . . . no not for real. But Monday morning was a bit yuck so I grabbed a DVD off the shelf, grabbed Mrs W's christmas gift in progress and enjoyed a lovely peaceful morning. Oh well, there's always next week to have five days at home.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Heavenly Headbands

I pinned a lovely crochet headband on Pinterest the other day and my dear friend Corleah quickly responded to it asking when I'd be ready to take orders as she wanted one for her daughter and one for herself.

Well, this got me motivated (and distracted from other pressing tasks) and I "clicked" down into the pin to find the pattern on Ravelry. Hmmm. You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that it actually linked to a book of lovely crochet patterns to buy. Now what was I to do?

Only one thing for it . . . design my own. So this afternoon while the children swung between playing happily and overtired induced tantrums, I made this. I'm really quite pleased with it. The reason I had to make it so quickly was we were seeing Corleah at a shared dinner tonight and I wanted to see if it would meet with her expectations. Thankfully it did so now I need to go and get some lovely cottons and make some for real.

The picture from Pinterest . . . found here . . . has an elastic join. As I've completely run out of elastic I decided to do a twisted cord tie instead. This also has worked really well, but my ties may be a touch on the long side.

The thing that truly amazes me about this is that a headband, particularly a crochet one, is not something I'd have ever made for myself. But I've had it on since I finished it and I'm completely in love with it. It's comfortable, looks pretty good, light around my head and keeps my hair from my face. I have a feeling I'll be making quite a few of these in the future and may become part of my signature wardrobe. Well, in truth, it may be the start of my signature wardrobe as I haven't yet (even at 40) discovered what my signature is.

And now it's Sunday night. The children have passed out in seconds as they're so tired they're unbearable. It's the first day of kindy tomorrow, school day too and I have five . . . yes five . . . whole childfree days this week. I can scarcely contain my excitment, but I have to or the little cherubs may feel unloved. Wow, what other treasures can I come up with in five whole days? Let's see!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday my Beautiful Four Year Old

It's been a long day with lots of highs, a few lows and much laughter. 

Now it's time for bed. Sleep well my darling!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Brithday Prep Madness

How glad I am that Janae is at preschool today as it's given me all morning to sort out her birthday preparations.

This pink monstrosity is her bithday "cake". There's a giant cupcake in the middle surround by standard cupcakes. As pink is her favourite colour I felt I couldn't make her cakes any other shade.

And remember me telling you she'd also requested a heart cushion for her birthday?

I was up late last night putting this together. It was quite fun to make really.

When we went on our Op Shop tutorial with Andrea a couple of weeks ago I got a huge stash of pre-cut squares of varying shades and patterns. Some of them were perfect for this job.

I sliced each square into 4cm lengths and stitched them together in blocks of five strips then sewed the blocks together in random ways. Once I had a piece big enough to cut the heart out of I drew up a template and cut around it on the patchwork piece. A plain piece of fabric for the back, a bit of stuffing and hey presto all done!

So the pass-the-parcel is all wrapped and ready to go. The baking is all done. The sherbert is in an air tight container just waiting to fill little icecream cones and have lollipops dipped into it. Now I can put my feet up for half an hour before racing out to music practice. Boy, I'm looking forward to the summer holidays (and the end of birthday and Christmas preparation) so we can all relax and chill out at the beach day after day. Bring it on.