My delightful twin niece and nephew turned 3 last week. My sister is in birthday season preparing parties for all 5 of her children over the next few months. The party for the twins was themed to Mickey Mouse and Dora the Explorer and my sister did a fabulous job dressing up the party and making cakes. She also saw an idea on Pinterest to do a photo booth/face in a hole cutout. I took up the challenge to create a free standing booth featuring Mickey Mouse and Dora. My husband sourced a spare thin sheet of MDF board which I attached to a base. I simply drew the images in pencil, filled in with paint and used a black permanent marker to outline the images. It took time to layer up the paint but it was an easy process and I was pretty happy with the outcome. What a great photobooth for the kids… and the big kids too.
A friend of mine had her baby shower today to celebrate a baby boy that she is expecting in July. She has decorated the nursery room with a nautical theme and I knew that she wanted a lamp for it. Little did I know however that trying to find a nautical lamp let alone any nautical, beach or fishing themed adornments during winter was a big ask. I was told that during the summer there would be plenty of options for me, but it wasn’t the right season for it now. The only nautical themed adornment that was remotely suitable was a flat wooden anchor from Spotlight. After visiting over a dozen stores I finally came with a solution to decorate a basic lamp myself in a nautical theme. Out of all the lighting, hardware and department stores I visited I found the most ideal lamp from The Warehouse. I knew that I would be able to sew a lamp shade cover easily due to the even circular shape of the shade (rather than a cone like shape tapered in at the top). I was also able to locate the same material that she used for the blinds in the nursery so that the lamp shade matched the blinds. I had also specifically chosen the lamp design as it was perfect for tying a piece of Sissal Rope around the base (sourced from Bunnings) which I could incorporate the anchor into. The trickiest part of the entire project was neatly joining the ends of the Sisal rope together at the back after knotting the front, so that the ends were sitting in the groove of the lamp. I don’t have a photo unfortunately, but I simply wrapped a matching tan coloured cotton around the end of the rope to stop it from unwinding and fraying, and then had to loop the cotton perpendicular around the two ends of the ropes so they would stay together. Those in the industry call it a ‘Whipped End‘. It was a simple yet fun project which now looks great in the nursery matching the blinds. The beauty of the lamp shade cover is that one day if she is finished with the nautical theme, she can just pull the cover off and start again.
Recently a friend kindly bought me a whole bunch of craft supplies after a visit to the USA, where such things are much cheaper than here in NZ. Amongst the bag of goodies were the resources to make Bottle Cap Magnets. To make bottle cap magnets you just need bottle caps, 1 inch round stickers, clear round epoxy stickers and magnets. You literally place your sticker image inside the bottle cap followed by the epoxy sticker and then glue a magnet onto the back. The magnets I used were super strength which are ideal for holding up both the bottle cap and the item you are using under the magnet. These bottle cap magnets were very easy to make using the specific supplies, however they are also easily made from up-cycled materials. You could collect your own bottle caps and either cut out or print your own 1 inch images. Martha Stewart even suggests that you could print your own image and then either laminate it, or seal it over with packing tape to help it last longer. She also uses a clear casting resin in the liquid form rather than stickers, which would give you more flexibility if you wanted to use jar lids instead of bottle caps. There are so many crafty opportunities but these fridge magnets are certainly a great start.
Bottle Cap Magnet Supplies:
– Bottle caps
– 1 inch round images (either stickers or print/cut out your own image)
– Clear 1 inch round epoxy stickers (or use a clear casting resin)
– Super strength magnets
Bottle Cap Magnet Instructions:
Place your round image inside the bottle cap, followed by the epoxy sticker (or fill with clear casting resin and leave to set 24hrs). Lastly glue a magnet onto the back, again leaving to set for 24hrs (ideally with something placed on top acting as a weight to bind the cap and magnet).
It is only two sleeps until Christmas now and our gifts are all wrapped and ready to go. This year I opted for a vintage style of wrapping and made my own Christmas gift tags. It was fun searching my haberdashery collection for ribbons, wool and lace. It was also easy to make snowflakes, cut out deer and plait wool. I love this style of wrapping as it allows you to be creative and use lots of odd bits and pieces. Below is a small sample of how I wrapped some of our gifts.
This year much of our immediate family Christmas giving has been consolidated into Secret Santa gifts. As the family continues to expand we have found that it is easiest to have one adult to buy for and then the children separately. This Christmas we have decided to spend the day with Michael’s side of the family who are around a 6-7 hour drive away from us. Now that we are visiting I have decided to do very small home made gifts for the extended family. Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for this. A couple of Michaels relatives have a slightly old school kind of taste. I have made two of them Tea Cup Candles. They also love visiting second hand stores, possibly with weekly visits, so it almost seemed fitting to include this. I purchased secondhand tea cups and saucers for a few dollars. I then melted down some used and unused white candles to make the wax, adding some cinnamon for scent and colour. What I learnt during the process was how much the wax actually sinks in the middle when it sets. A variety of Candle Making Websites offered some advice of poking sink holes, tightening the wick over a rod and doing a second pour to fill the hole. They aren’t perfect but I am very pleased with them. I know they will love this thoughtful homemade gift.
Yesterday I excitedly finished putting up our Christmas decorations. Last year during the post Christmas and New Year sales I had bought a Christmas Tree from The Warehouse for around $30 (I think, or perhaps less) which included decorations. As I put them up this year I felt quite chuffed at the bargain I had got. I didn’t even need to use all of the decorations and chose to use the tinsel and extra baubles for the birdcage. Due to Israel’s mobility I had to put the 180cm tree on top of a chest so that Israel couldn’t get to it easily. Since I have put it up he hasn’t even gone near it, which is helpful. If he starts walking all of a sudden then I will have to draw in the two single couches in either side to block it off. On a side note, I am still trying to teach Israel “No”. It doesn’t feel like I am getting through to him, but I know consistency and patience is the key!
The Scrabble tiles used to write ‘Merry Christmas’ were also a second hand shop bargain. For $4 I actually got two tile sets – a plastic and wooden set. I already own a Scrabble set, so these were purchased purely for decoration or crafts. I set these on a cake stand along with the candles I made in a recent post. Lastly I have reused my plain bunting to hang Christmas Cards on with little wooden pegs… now I just need to receive more cards from people!
Although Thanksgiving is not a New Zealand tradition, we have some American friends so for the second year in a row we have had a Thanksgiving dinner. On Saturday night we squeezed 17 of us into three tables to celebrate in a slightly formal way. A friend and I gathered up all the resources we had to make a very simple fall theme. We collected leaves and twigs to make our centrepieces and even made floating candles to sit in a vase of twigs and water. It was a fun night filling ourselves with friendship, laughter, cornbread, sweet potato and marshmallow casserole, bean casserole, pumpkin, chicken (as Turkey is much too expensive here especially for 17 people), broccoli and cauliflower gratin, roasted carrots and pecan pie. What a feast! Next is Christmas!