"We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dining Room Reno

After the craziness of Christmas and not having much time to myself, I was busting to do something creative. Remember these canvases that I had previously covered in wallpaper? Well it turns out, my husband didn't really like them and so when he painted the walls recently, they did not find their way back. So I decided to reuse the canvases by ripping the wallpaper off and giving them a bit of paint. I used acrylics mixed with high gloss gel to give it a cool, shiny texture. I began by creating stripes using masking tape. Over and over, I moved the tape waiting for the paint to dry before replacing the tape and painting again. When the canvases were covered with different width stripes, I added detail and roughed it up a little bit before giving it a couple of coats of varnish. I was going for a bit of an abstract tree trunk look. What I thought would take me a couple of hours turned into a 4 day on and off project. Here it is:

When this was done, I woke up one morning and decided that our dining suite was too dark for the room and I wanted to lighten it up a little. After searching Pinterest and then eBay for white dining chairs, I decided that I loved the Eames style chairs (which I had never heard of before) and decided I'd look for some second hand replica ones. I found the dodgiest ad on eBay which looked like it was only for one chair. I asked the question, found out it was for 6 chairs and offered a ridiculous price which was accepted. When we got the chairs home, I looked up the brand and realised that the chairs are actually not the replicas I thought they were! They retail new for $450 each! I got all 6 for $130! Bargain of the century I reckon! The chairs are comfortable, sturdy easy-clean and pretty darn funky. I smile whenever I look at them.

So with the new white chairs, the table looked too dark. Soon, we began the big task of sanding back our dining table to the original wood look. It required numerous coats of varnish with a minimum of 24 hours drying time in between each coat. Patience was needed! Finally, it all came together. We painted the legs of the table black to attempt an industrial type look and to tie in with the black bi-fold doors. Here we go:

Last, but not least, I planted some pretty succulents in a white pot and whipped up a table runner- light grey on one side, charcoal on the other because I couldn't decide.

So there you have it. A couple of things I still need to do- get rid of the blue wall near the bifold doors and through to the kitchen- just need to choose the right colour and find a sisal rug for the space near the doors. Since we got rid of the padded, high-back chairs it's a bit echo-y in here. I don't like echo-y! A rug should fix that.

We are happy with the way this room is shaping up. Looks even better with my little family in it!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Study area

Our most recent addition/ reno to our house is a study nook for the kiddos. This came about for a number of reasons: I was sick of having their homework books, colouring books, pencils, craft etc all over the dining table and secondly, we are hoping to eventually extend our eldest son's bedroom into the space where our original 'study' space was.

 I am not a fan of desks in kids' bedrooms. I want to be able to see what they're working on or viewing on the i-Pad and computer and help them if they need me to. I also like that they can be involved in each other's learning if they are all in the one place.

This is the closest I have of a before photo of this space:

 It's a funny little area really. We had a play kitchen, dolls houses and a drum kit here.

I began gathering ideas on a Pinterest board. People are so clever! I love getting inspiration from Pinterest. Here is my Study Area ideas board.

Firstly, I cleared it all out. Kitchen went into the cubby house in the backyard, dolls house went into daughter's bedroom, drum kit moved into family room. I then started to collect second hand furniture as it came up on ebay and gumtree. All 3 desks and chairs are originally from Ikea. Desks are called 'Micke' and chairs are called 'Tobias'. Once I knew these were exactly what I wanted, I kept searching gumtree and ebay until one came up. Then I had to be quick to snap them up and my poor long-suffering husband was sent all over Sydney to collect them. He's the best! If I had bought them brand new, the chairs and desks would have cost me $600. Buying them second hand, meant that I got the lot for $240. It took about 2 months to find everything but I think it was worth the saving.

Bit by bit, it started to come together. We bought the overhead cabinet and printer cabinet new from Ikea as they were tricky to come across second hand. After much deliberation and discussion with the husband, we (I) decided to paint a wall with chalkboard paint. I used Dulux brand. It was thick and sticky to roll on, but I'm happy with the final product. I have plans to write up a new quote every month or so.

The wall was finished just in time for our Jonah's 10th birthday. This is the first word art I completed and I loved doing it. This idea was from Pinterest. I now have a Pinterest board for chalkboard ideas. You can check it out HERE.

 Gabby loves using the chalkboard too. Sometimes she writes words on it and sometimes she just draws. Here is one of my faves:

And here is the finished product:

We are really happy with the way it has turned out. The kids enjoy doing their homework here and sometimes I find myself sitting here working on the computer.

To give you an idea of where this space is in our house, the above photo was taken from our lounge room. If you look over the railing behind the lounge in the photo below, you will see the study area.

I love seeing our house come together into something that looks like 'us.' It's certainly a slow process, but we're getting there!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Luke's pinata and Jonah's football jersey cake

My boys have both had birthdays since I last posted on here. Yes- it's been a while! Felt like I had to share their cakes. I love making them and wonder how old they will be when they finally stop wanting a special cake for their birthdays. Until then, I'll keep on enjoying the time I spend thinking about my babies and how they've grown while I decorate their cakes.

So here is Luke's pinata cake for his 8th birthday. Lots of fun to crack open with a hammer and share the goodies inside!

And my biggest baby turned 10 recently. T.E.N! I can't believe I have a 10 year old! Jonah lives and breathes all things soccer. One of his fave players is Lionel Messi who apparently plays for Barcelona. Here is Jonah with his personalised Messi Jersey cake.

Who knew these cute little babies would grow so quickly into young men?! Good thing they're still gorgeous or I might want to put a stop to this growing business!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Long sleeve dress

Here is the long sleeve version of my simple, stretchy dress.

This one is made with jersey fabric which is easy to sew with no need to overlock seems. However, I find it is a lot less flattering to wear than the cotton sateen fabric. Darn those chocolate Easter eggs!! Time to get back into the running I think.

As my holidays come to an end all too quickly and I sink back into the business of early mornings, school lunches, uniforms and meetings, I am feeling so, so grateful for the time I have spent with these 3 kiddos. How lucky am I that I get to continue being in the same place as my kids even when I go to work? Pretty special I reckon.

We have had fun bushwalking, gardening (future post on this one!), going to the movies, visiting parks, having friends over and generally enjoying the beautiful weather. Plenty of memories to get us through to the next lot of holidays. 9 weeks and counting!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cat cake

Way back in February, my girl turned 5. She has always loved animals, particularly cats so she asked if I could make a cat cake. We searched the internet together for some inspiration, but whenever I found one that looked half decent and I thought I could pull off, Gabby exclaimed, "NO!" It amazes me how well she knows exactly what she does and doesn't like- no indecision, just "NO!" OK then! I wonder who she gets that from?! Then, when I was putting her to bed one night, she decided she wanted a cat cake that looked just like the one on her nightie. Here it is:

Rightio then. We finally had something to work with.

I had so much fun making this cake. Little girl was at school while I was making it and she was super happy when she arrived home.

Here is how it ended up:

Here's how it looked pre icing:

And here's my girl celebrating with her beautiful big brothers. Little does she know how lucky she is!

I love making cakes for my kids. Next one is a pinata cake (not actually a cake at all) made for my Luke. Stay tuned- I'm slowly catching up!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some dresses for work

It's holiday time again which means I finally have some breathing space for blogging! We have had such a huge term with my youngest starting Kindy, as well as one in Year 2 and one in Year 4. Basketball season has finished up and a new soccer season has begun. Swimming lessons continue and my little girl will start dancing lessons soon- unchartered territory for me! Family life is always busy!

My job has been crazy busy- I am a teacher whose job is to care for kids with special needs- learning difficulties and other disabilities. This last term has seen me way out of my depth in dealing with the issues that some of these kids face and with their parents. Such an incredible, horrible, wonderful, difficult job and I'm wrecked! 

With all three kids at school, I have been navigating a new season of life where I have 2 days each week at home ALONE. This has been such a strange feeling and I must admit, it took me quite a while to adjust. When I wasn't busy, loneliness kicked in along with feelings of guilt if I did anything just for me. Well, I'm nearly over that now! 

A few weeks a go, I came across some new fabric in Spotlight that I hadn't seen before. It is called Cotton Sateen and it has a really nice weight and stretch- perfect for little dresses like these- no zipper required. I used the back of a pattern I already had and used it for the back and the front, cutting a lower neckline at the front. I had a little cap sleeve pattern which worked perfectly as well. To add a bit of shape, I added 2 darts in the back to bring the dress in at my waistline, otherwise it looked a bit sack-like. My overlocker worked overtime- unlike the jersey fabric I have used before, this stuff frays like crazy.

I am looking forward to making one of these with long sleeves for Autumn/ Winter. I'll let you know how I go. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Woven ribbon headband

When I dreamed of having a little girl, I imagined that her hair would always be beautifully pulled back in braids or pigtails or plaits with ribbons and clips etc. (Mind you, I also imagined that she would have dark hair like me- what the heck happened there?!!) I loved styling hair and had practised lots on my dolls, sister and cousin growing up.

In the real world, more often than not, my daughter's hair looks something like this:

Or even this:

Occasionally, if she is in an easy-going mood, I can sit her in front of 'Peppa Pig' and quickly get a couple of braids in. There is only a small window of opportunity!

Over the past couple of years, I've come to realise that it's probably not such a bad thing that she hates having her hair done and is only really interested in how long it's going to take and how much it's going to hurt rather than what she looks like in the mirror. After all, I'm sure there will be plenty of time when she is (not even) a teenager when she will worry about her looks. Why help her start that now? I would love her to learn that what she looks like is soooo not a measure of her worth and even though the world will tell her that it's important to be 'pretty' or look a certain way to fit in, I want her to know that it's hugely more worthwhile to be kind, generous, faithful, wise, happy, creative, healthy, fun, honest, respectful, forgiving, thankful, STRONG. That's what I pray for my girl.

So hard though. How do you navigate this with your daughters? I would love to hear your ideas. My husband and I are deliberate in our efforts to make more comments about our daughter's character than her looks. Of course, we tell her she's beautiful, but we also tell her she's smart and funny etc. Trying hard to keep a good balance. And then there's the example I set. Does Gabby see me worrying too much about my hair, weight, make-up and clothes? YES, probably! Must work on that!

Alas, my little girl is about to start big school. With this, comes certain requirements for hairstyles. So my priorities are:
1. Avoid nits (Man am I dreading the first time this happens! She will not tolerate nit treatment well!)
2. Quick and easy to do in the mornings
3. Accessories in school colours
4. Hair out of eyes
5. Neat and tidy
6. Stays in all day

Gabby's hair is very fine, but she has a LOT of it. Even when I try to do her hair really neatly, she gets all those little wispy bits coming out the front and sides. I have found headbands useful for this so thought I'd try my hand at making a woven ribbon headband or two after seeing a couple of girls at school wearing similar things. They weren't too tricky once I got the hang of it. There seems to be a gazillion tutorials on the internet for these little babies. I used THIS ONE.

Here they are in school colours:

I would definitely recommend giving these a go. There are endless possibilities with colour combinations which can totally change the look of the pattern.

Be sure to send me a pic if you give this a go. I would love to see them!

Thanks for stopping by.