Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Wedding - 4 sleeps to go... (via

I know not everyone is as excited as I am, but there is no escaping the Royal Wedding this week.

If you are interested, some of the better articles I have read lately are this one about Diana's influence on William, and this one in the New Zealand Herald recalling William's first trip to NZ, as a 10-month old.

Diana had broken with tradition by not leaving him at home during a Royal Tour, and so a nursery was set up at their New Zealand base, Government House in Auckland.

A photocall at Government House resulted in the famous pics of William crawling and playing with a Buzzy Bee, but I would have loved to see the handmade touches in the nursery inside:

"Lady Beattie, skilled at sewing, took me through the newly refurbished suite of rooms shortly before the royal couple arrived. She and other women had put in hundreds of hours sewing baby quilts, a "William's Book" of cloth animals and a ribbon-edged mosquito net decorated with hand-sewn miniature horses. It was a choice between that or corgis, Lady Beattie said.
Propped in William's sunny nursery - twice the size of his nanny's room next door - was a rabbit dressed in an All Blacks jersey and the Buzzy Bee, once pulled along by the Beatties' son Simon. And there was another handme- down, Simon's blue English pram which Lady Beattie restored after Doris, the family's Airedale terrier, had wrestled with the fringed canopy. Whether the highly active, crawling baby prince ever sat in this pram is doubtful." (Jane Phare, NZH, 24/4/11)

My sister and I are having a sleepover on Friday, some friends are doing High Tea at an Auckland hotel - are you doing anything special?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Little Miss Lily Pad's Fifth birthday....

Blue fishpond jelly; takeaway popcorn boxes; LouLou making mermaid gingerbreads; frothy wave cupcakes.

Maddie in her costume; her Mermaid Barbie cake; making popcorn boxes.

Sunday was my first daughter Maddie's fifth birthday party, and it was chaos -but fantastic fun. In typical Lily Pad style, between the two of us we 'designed' a party made from a lot of homemade, handmade items - and had an absolute ball preparing together.

The theme was 'Under the Sea' - an idea which we stretched our imaginations a bit for, in order to make her original idea of a Barbie Mermaid party suit all our friends, boys included. Maddie hates to leave out her two best boy buddies, Tyler and Campbell, so she suggested the wider theme. We asked them if they'd like to come as pirates (they looked fantastic) - and lead the 'treasure hunt'. To make the treasure hunt, we hid gladwrap sandwich bags of small balls, packs of playing cards, gold chocolate coins, notebooks and pencils in the clam shell pit, then Maddie drew a map with "X marks the spot", and hubby traipsed the two pirates, Maddie, and all the other littlies on a wild goose chase all around the property and back to the clam shells. There they 'dug for treasure' with teaspoons til all the prizes were found.

The second game was 'pin the tail on the mermaid', which Maddie and I drew together earlier in the week, and she painted. Our decorating theme included giving each child a pair of paper 'googles' to wear under the sea (a ceiling full of blue balloons and green seaweed), a table of food sitting on top of a striped picnic rug, instead of a table cloth, bunting flags (another great excuse to use the free alphabet bunting downloads I love on ruffled) and an activity getting the kids to decorate gingerbread mermaid and starfish cookies with coloured icing and sprinkles.

Once all the welcome games and activities were over, the kids had a picnic on a blue beach towel, with 'takeaway popcorn' in boxes, 'fish 'n' chips' wrapped in takeaway packages of newspaper and wax paper, and 'goldfish bowl' blue jelly with fish lollies inside.

Instead of a loot bag, each child took home their googles, a balloon, and their own gingerbread cookies.

I have to admit I went all out for this party and made a mermaid outfit for Maddie, as well as a 'guppie' outfit (skirt and tail) for my little one year old. They looked so cute!

I also spent a lot of time thinking about her cake, which I made the night before, and kept a big secret. She was quite overwhelmed/excited/blown away and unfortunately cried when it was time to blow out the candles! Oops - too much for one small child!

It's quite wierd now, with the big party over, and the waiting game of two weeks of school holidays before she's off to school for her first day. Lots of time to write names on clothing and stationary, but also a big build up! I hope it goes well.

Love you HEAPs Maddie Moo, and I'm so proud of you


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baby Bites: Easter craft goodies....

This week on BabyBites I took the time to search out some funky and cool Easter craft activities! It's always time to craft when the school holidays co-incide with Easter. My five year old adores making things.

One of my favourite blogs, oh my! handmade goodness, has put together a fantastic round up of 25 of the coolest Easter projects.

Top of my list: 'Not Martha's chocolate-filled real egg with a surprise inside, like a kinder surprise! I can't wait to try rolling the liquid chocolate around inside the egg. This is definitely a job for size 8 eggs. Then I think I"ll hide them inside these super easy, super cool egg cosies made from outgrown jumpers - fits perfectly with our re-design and upcycling theme on this blog!

Or if we get time, these felt bunnies.

Yum and fun! Check out the full list of oh my! handmade goodness Easter suggestions here.

For my original column and lots more for kids and mums, visit

Cushion Swap Sign-Up

Making cushion covers has been on my to-do list for ages, and now I have some motivation... check out Punky & Me's swap, sign-ups are open until Monday, 25th April.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When Golden Books become golden treasures

What do you do when your treasured vintage books fall apart at the spine, or rip and become illegible? These clever crafters pay homage to their special childhood tales by upcycling their destroyed pages. The stories live on for another generation...and might encourage your children to want to go op-shopping with you and ‘save’ more books destined for destruction, unless a loving family takes them home. Check out Mini-eco’s upcycled paper garland of the Tawny Scrawny Lion …or Cat Taylor’s Richard Scarry birthday party invitations ...or Ruby in the Dust’s rebound Golden Book with extra blank pages for children to write notes…

Now I know what to do with my beloved Dr Seuss pages that lost their cover and companion pages two decades ago! Time to dust them off and restore them to glory…

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Australian holiday time...

I’ve just returned from two weeks in Australia staying with my Melbourne-based inlaws and family, showing off my 18 month old daughter for the first time.

It was the perfect ‘unwind’ holiday – absolutely centred on family time, but also involving some retail therapy and window shopping treats for me.

Even though I didn’t craft at all the whole time (yes, honestly!)…I did have a few design highlights.

Top of the list was seeing the store ‘Meet me at Mike’s’ first hand in Brunswick St in Melbourne. In fact I let out a squeal of delight and told hubby to turn the car around immediately in peak hour traffic with two crying tired children in the back seat, which didn’t go down well! Owner Pip has an amazing store and two books under her belt, with another to be released in Australia at the end of the year.

Down the road a bit was the punky, alternative/vintage clothing store Dangerfield, which both hubby and I found lots we liked in. I can’t believe I didn’t get myself one of their vintage printed dresses in the end.

Then at the opposite end of the design spectrum, but still a highlight, was IKEA. I really love their simple, functional design aesthetic. This time, I also noticed their focus on eco imagery, homage to design in nature (especially in their lighting ranges) and absolute encouragement of traditional toys, role play and make believe in their wooden and fabric toys for children. The felt toy food baskets made their way home with us, and the animal yard finger puppets were a close second. Does anyone else remember "The Munch Bunch"???

And how amazing is this dandelion inspired lampshade - it was HUGE in real life. Breathtaking. My nearly-five year old loved it.

'Til next time, Ozzie! Miss you already!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Do you Spoonflower?

The other week at My Creative Space I loved this fabric design by Flower Press. I think it is really difficult to find nice 'boy' fabrics (although I would also use this for girls) so marbles as a spot pattern are genius (she has a giveaway this week too!)

The post led to me rediscovering, the amazing website where you can upload your own fabric design (either graphic or photo) and then they make your design in the fabric of your choice. You can also choose from thousands of other designs by Spoonflower users who have made their fabrics public.

Wondersquid by melisza

Every week there is a design competition, voted on by users, and the entries are so clever - this 'Wondersquid' design won a recent 'Squid'-themed competition, and I also love this 4th ranked design, 'Ghostly Squid Damask' that made me think of Aimee's lily pad damasks.

Ghostly Squid Damask by Pattysloniger

The current competition, Project Selvage, is co-sponsored by designer fabric house Michael Miller, and you can vote on the 75 semi-finalists here. The winner gets to design a collection for Michael Miller! The set theme was 'baby fabric for boys', and I voted for:

If you have ever ordered from Spoonflower or entered a competition, please let me know how you got on, I am absolutely fascinated by it!

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