OMG! Christmas Is Coming Early to Me

I am all a-quiver with excitement.  I am getting a new sewing machine aaahhhhhh!  Well, it will be new to me, a Janome Memory Craft 11000 – aren’t I just the luckiest girl in the world.  Deposit paid, machine being serviced as we speak and dearest Brother-In-Law is picking it up Sunday for me.


Did I mention how excited I am?  Am thinking next week will be filled with some seriously late nights as we get to know each other.  Holy Moldy (Edie-ism), I am EXCITED.

Stay tuned for updates in the getting-to-know-you process.



The Great Toy Explosion…

I have an abundance of toys for my kids.  It is scary how much stuff they have.  I do not know how this happened.  It is a bit out of control and trying to contain it is nearly impossible.

Until today.  I got off my butt and finally organised the play area a little.  It has great storage already, but no organisation to speak of.

Until today.  I made these to help keep the tsunami at bay.

Cute as can be.
Cute as can be.

I just googled ‘toy images free’ and picked out these from the millions of results I got.  Was gonna go all out and give the images the PSE (Photoshop Elements) treatment, but today wasn’t the day.  I wanted this project finished pronto.  I couldn’t bear the mayhem a moment longer.

So all I did was put the images into Publisher and printed them on plain white paper.  Used a roll of sticky tape as my circle to trace around and cut them out with scissors.  Used a pad of 6″ x 6″ scrapbooking papers as backing and tah-dah!

Got a wee bit carried away after the photo was taken and popped in some decorative brats in the corners.  Plugged in the trusty old hot glue gun and slapped them on the boxes in the storage unit in the play area.  Job done.  Even spent a couple of hours sorting toys into their categories – not sure why, kidlets will have them all willy-nilly in a day or two at the most.

Anyway, this is what they look like in situ – sorry about the crappy pic, was pitch dark and no handy lamp – just the flash on my phone.

Sorted - sort of.
Sorted – sort of.

A word of warning tho, make sure you sort your toys and work out what categories you need before you make your labels.  My ‘Wheels’ category now also holds assorted balls and farm animals…as you do.



I Adore Making Little Pots of Goodness…

Reggie is 8 months old now and eating up a storm. One of my favourite things about little people is making their little pots of goodness, be it fruit, vegies, cereals or whatever.
I’m not so good at the time management thing, so when I need to I just make a monster batch and freeze it – usually enough for 2 weeks, give or take.
Today Reg is getting apples, pears, peaches and cinnamon – it’s his fave. The peaches are from our tree – thanks mum for freezing them while we were away in summer. In a few weeks I’ll be able to use our own apples too – they are the best, crunchy, sweet and tart at the same time – Deee-wishus. There would have been a lot more but the same child that says deee-wishus also likes to garden. I use that term very loosely – really she just likes to rip stuff of shrubs and trees. Oh well, they will all grow back.
And that is the sum total of ingredients, less is more me thinks.
So this

Oops, forgot to take a shot of the mountain of fruit that went into the pot - this was all that was left in the fruit bowl.
Oops, forgot to take a shot of the mountain of fruit that went into the pot – this was all that was left in the fruit bowl.

becomes this,

Mushy slurry of yum.
Mushy slurry of yum.

and goes into these,

Clean and dry, ready for dollops of goodness.
Clean and dry, ready for dollops of goodness.

then ends up like this

Ready for the freezer.
Ready for the freezer.

I so like opening my freezer and seeing all these lined up like little pots of liquid sunshine.



Let Them Craft

I love letting my girls go-for-it, in the crafting and art department.  I just love watching their pudgy little fingers manage scraps of paper, wield the scissors, and manipulate the glue stick to their whims, tongues poking out to the side of their pursed lips in utter concentration.

The mornings work. Necklaces and pom pom critters came later.

I try really hard not to guide, takeover or suggest what they do, I just want them to use their imaginations and create to their hearts’ desire.  But oh lord, the mess!

So happy with herself - the foot and handprints tracking thru the house...
So happy with herself – the foot and handprints tracking thru the house…

I am not that fond of the clean-up part of their creativeness, glue, fluff and all manner of bits and pieces usually end up on any and every surface within a 3 metre range.  I’ve yet to introduce glitter to the craft arsenal as I just abhor the stuff and it’s in my top 5 things I hate to clean up (the other 4 items are another post entirely…), I realised this after opening up a wedding invitation loaded with the stuff, in front of a fan – holy crap!!  I think I was finding glitter in places 12 months later – possibly also something to do with my rather haphazard approach to cleaning in general.

My little Tortured Artist
My little Tortured Artist


I have a couple of easels set up outside for painting and paint we do more days than not.  I have splotches, splatters and handprints on various surfaces, but I don’t mind them at all.  I love, love, love my kids paintings.


I have piles of them tucked away will-nilly, just waiting for me to discover what on earth to do with them all.  To date I’ve used them as gift wrapping (doesn’t everyone?), wall art around the house, frames for photos we’ve sent to Grandma that lives a long way away and that’s about all.  It doesn’t even begin to make a dent in the mountain of paintings, but oh well, they won’t go off if I don’t use them for anything.

Buying pads of paper was getting out of hand, so I got a bit thrifty and started saving the butchers paper that our wonderful local butcher wraps all of his goods in.  About two thirds of it makes the grade to painting, the other third goes to lighting the fire in winter – terribly environmental of me…

When I am spending time in the sewing room, I save all my tiny scraps of fabric, off-cut selvedge strips and anything else I think they will use and keep it in a box for use later.  Edie loves doing ‘fabwicks’ with me.  She can spend ages laying out a pack of charm squares into a quilt, “mum, do I have the bawance right?” is a common question.  A chip of the old block, so to speak.

So let them craft, I say, the mess be damned.

Til next time, be kind to yourself and your world.

Love Carmen

The Cover Photos…

Images left to right:
1. Some sweet beach art I made this summer at the shack. It’s just a bunch of twigs, leaves and grasses from the yard, all twined together with some white cotton string. I saw this in a magazine somewhere, and for the life of me I cannot remember where, so if anyone can shed some light so I may credit the source, that would be lovely.
2. My Edie.
3. I finished this quilt for Edie’s bed a while back. It’s the first quilt I’ve ever had professionally quilted – and dang, if it’s not the way to go. Someday, sigh, I’ll have one of those lovely quilting sewing machines, currently I have my mum’s cast-off Janome from the 80’s and it rocks.
4. My Connie. (photo credit – Jade Norwood Photography)
5. Harvest December 2013 at Millbrae, the very last hours before the headers, trucks, bins and all and sundry moved out to our others farms out north.
6. My Reggie.
7. Moonrise from our front yard – did I mention I live in a beautiful land?
8. My world.

In at the deep end…

Lordy, I’m so nervous doing this, my very first post.  Perhaps I should plan something meticulously, draft, edit, draft, edit, until I am left with just a hello and not a whole lot more.

Me and Mine
Me and Mine – Jade Norwood Photography

Or, as my most common operating mode would have, just wing it.  

I love life, especially mine.  I have a mad, wonderful family, live in an amazing part of the world and have the freedom to make and create whatever my wild heart desires.  What’s not to love?

OK, that seemed quite painless, thankfully.

I bake, sew, quilt, digital scrapbook, sculpt with stone and metal and wire and will turn my hand to anything that takes my fancy, so stay tuned for the good times and bad, and all the stuff that Millbrae makes me make.  xxx


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